Toras Avigdor Junior
Shimmy sat quietly as Totty drove down the winding country road. A shiur from Rav Avigdor Miller was playing, and while Shimmy didn’t understand everything the Rov said – he used very fancy words sometimes – but it was still very interesting.
After the shiur finished, Shimmy turned to his father. “Totty,” he said. “I don’t understand something. We learned that we’re supposed to have anivus, which means “humility”. But at this shiur, Rav Miller was talking so strongly and he was saying things like “people who don’t believe in Hashem are tipshim – that they’re failures”. And he said that if you think about Hashem during the day for a minute while “everyone else is just wasting their time” then “you’re a superman; you’re way better than everyone else”. That doesn’t sound very humble.”
“Ah, Shimmy,” said Totty. “That’s a great question. In fact, I’ll make your question even stronger! The Torah in our parsha says that Moshe Rabbeinu was anav mikol adam – that he was more humble than any man that ever lived! But we see many times in the Torah that Moshe stood up to reshaim and got angry at people who didn’t listen to what he said.
How could that be the most humble man in the world?”
Shimmy was quiet for a few seconds. “Uh, I never really thought about that,” he said. “So what’s the answer? What does humility really mean?”
Just then Totty stopped the car. “Quick, Shimmy! Let’s get out!”
Shimmy was confused, but did as Totty said and they got out of the car right next to a farm on the side of the road. There, in the field, was a little boy – he was maybe four years old, like Shimmy’s little sister – and he was perched on top of a big ox, holding a stick and telling the ox where to go.
“Wow!” exclaimed Shimmy. “That animal is huge! He could squish that little boy in a second, but he’s being so calm and peaceful – he’s actually listening to whatever the little boy says!”
“Now tell me,” Totty said. “Would you call that ox an anav. Is he humble?”
“An anav?” said Shimmy incredulously. “No, he’s just a dumb animal. He doesn’t know anything.”
“That’s exactly it!” said Totty. “An anav doesn’t mean you act like a dumb ox just following the way of everybody else. An anav doesn’t mean that you’re a weakling and a pushover. An anav is someone who is humble because he knows that he’s always standing in front of Hashem. He knows that as important as he may be, he’s nothing before Hashem.
And that means the more you’re aware of Hashem, the more of an anav you’ll be. Because you may be the smartest kid in your class or the one who can play basketball the best or you have the fanciest house, but when you’re standing in front of Hashem you realize that it’s all nothing.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing how great you actually are – in fact, we see that Shmuel Hanavi even gave mussar to Shaul Hamelech for not recognizing his own greatness.
Moshe Rabbeinu knew exactly how great he was and he understood his job as leader of the Am Yisroel but he recognized that everything came from Hashem and he used his greatness together with his deep awareness of Hashem to fight against those who went against Hashem’s will – because he was an anav in front of Hashem he always stood up for Hashem!
“Now, Rav Avigdor Miller, while not on the level of Moshe Rabbeinu, he knew who he was and he had incredible awareness of Hashem. And when you’re always thinking about Hashem and you care about Him then no matter how much of a humble person you may be, you have to stand up for Him. Otherwise you’re not an anav – you’re more like an ox!
And so when Rav Miller saw people doing things against the Torah, it bothered him very much and because he was such an anav before Hashem he did what was right by standing strong for the honor of Hashem. Because the anav before Hashem knows that nothing is more important than Hashem.
Have A Wonderful Shabbos!