Shabbos Parashas Shemos

Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaDaas (Gate of the Intellect), Chapter 9, Part 2
How can a person possibly exalt himself? Initially he was absent from this world, and eventually he will depart it. And even during his sojourn in this world, he is in a precarious state. He consists of a combination of components that would fall apart if not constantly watched over. He has no power to maintain his existence. Rather, his existence is a gracious gift from Hashem, the One who apportions life to every living being.
Wake up and contemplate the celestial beings! Despite their great loftiness, they humble themselves before their Creator, for they understand that their existence is not something that necessarily has to be. Thus it is written (Nechemiah 9:6): “And you sustain them all, and the celestial hosts bow down to you.” All the more so should you, a much lowlier being, humble yourself. Indeed, given that you have violated Hashem’s word many times, how could you possibly not feel abashed?
The Gemara in Megillah 15b teaches that a person should consider himself as unimportant as the leftovers from a meal. Certainly a person must not regard himself as the man of house whose presence is a matter of right. A person must realize that he is only a guest in this world. And he must take care not to regard himself as an eminent guest whose presence is an honor and a source of pleasure to his host. Rather, he should regard himself as a lowly pauper whom the man of the house has brought in despite having no need for him, simply out of pity. Just as the pauper sits at the host’s table in a state of extreme humility, so, too, we should conduct ourselves with extreme humility before Hashem. For indeed, Hashem – the Master of the Universe – has no need for us, neither to get our help nor to gain honor through our presence. It is only out of kindness that Hashem maintains our existence. In approaching Hashem, we must always bear in mind that, as we say in the Selichos prayers, “like the poor and the needy we knock at Your door.”
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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