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Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Almighty commands in this week’s Torah portion that a Jewish king write for himself a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) that he will keep with him and read from it so that “he should not raise his heart above his brothers” (Deuteronomy 17:20). What does it mean to “raise his heart above his brothers”?

Rabbi Simcha Zissel of Kelm comments that we learn from here a prohibition against a person being arrogant. “Arrogance is a reprehensible trait that is the father of all other negative traits.”

What does it mean that arrogance is the father of all other negative traits? An arrogant person will easily become angry when others do not do as he wishes. He will not be satisfied with what he has because he arrogantly thinks he should always have more. He will speak against others because he feels superior to them.

He will not exert himself to do favors for others because he feels that others should do things for him and that he has no obligation to help them. He will seek honor and power and therefore all that he does will be motivated by selfishness. He will take advantage of other people because he feels that everyone is only in this world to serve him.

He will be ungrateful for any good that others do for him because he thinks that of course others should serve him. He will not admit that he made any mistakes because that would be humiliating and he wants others to feel that he is infallible and he often believes this himself. He will not honor his parents properly because he wants them to serve him. He will boast as much as he can to build himself up in the eyes of others.

He will frequently lie in order to save himself from anything that will lessen his stature in the eyes of others and in order that others should have a higher opinion of him than he really deserves. He will not ask anyone for clarification if he does not understand something for this would be belittling to him. He will frequently become involved in quarrels.

He will blame others when things go wrong because he never wants to take blame for anything himself. He will act obnoxiously towards others. He will hate any person who slights him in any way.

Any of these traits sound familiar? If yes, you might want to think about working on humility — or forwarding this Dvar Torah to someone who does need to work on humility…