How would I work on a step-by-step program to break the trait of arrogance?
Well, that needs not one lecture, but many lectures. But I’ll tell you briefly. If a man is an arrogant fellow, then in order to counter that ga’avah, that arrogance in him, it would help to spend time every day studying the good qualities of other people.
Here’s what you do. Take one person at a time, and see the good in him. At first, it’s not so easy because you’re blind to the other man’s good qualities. Of course you are; because it’s only you that has good qualities! You’re only aware of your own ma’alos, your own good qualities. However, if you’re willing to think a little bit, after a while you begin to see that you’re not the only tzadik in the world – other people are full of good things too. And little by little, you begin to level out with other people. Maybe you’ll even end up feeling inferior to many people.
Look how many good people there are who are moser nefesh, they exert themselves to extremes, for the mitzvah of tzedaka. Here’s a woman who tells me that she wasn’t feeling well, and she comes home and she finds six meshulachim from Eretz Yisroel in her home, waiting for supper! Six charity collectors in need of a meal. She’s weak, she’s not feeling well, and she goes ahead and prepares supper for six meshulachim! I felt like falling down on the ground in front of her, I was so humbled. A person should make supper for six strangers who barged in without calling up beforehand?! It’s remarkable! This woman has ten extra beds in her house. It’s not a big house, but they have extra beds for people who need it. I don’t understand that! It’s unbelievable. A quiet person; her name should be in the headlines of the newspapers! Ten extra beds in their house for people to come in and sleep. And it’s a quiet, unassuming, Jewish home. And now you know how unimportant you are compared to them. You don’t have to worry about arrogance, because you have nothing to be arrogant about. She’s not famous, nobody knows about her. It’s remarkable!
When you start studying people, you’ll be amazed at what they’re doing. Here’s an elderly man, a quiet elderly man. He walks a little bent over, he seems to be an unassuming person. Do you know how many thousand of dollars he’s sending to poor talmidei chachomim in Eretz Yisroel?! I was amazed when I met that man. Thousands and thousands of dollars! He’s supporting many families with a lot of children. And nobody knows about him.
So when you start studying people, you’ll be amazed at the good qualities of people. And little by little, the ga’avah, the arrogance, will start leeching out of you. That’s one of the ways to work on overcoming ga’avah – by concentrating on the virtues of others.
TAPE # 613