– proudly and humbly abstracted from the writings of Rav Kuk.
Both Humility [anava] and Pride [gaava], in both their hues, come from the same place. Holiness [kdusha] heightens the awareness of the Soul [neshama] of the reality external to it, the Infinite Light – which engenders, simultaneously, inner smallness and greatness in the Soul.
Because the descent into materialism dulls the Faculty for Holiness [kodesh], thought cannot approach the heights where the light can be seen: the light which is the source of all that is good, including a profound and established sense of self.
Because through Pride, the source of greatness becomes hidden – everything shrinks, and degradation sets it. A shrunken sense of the universe leads to an exaggerated sense of self, which leads to a false sense of the moral worth of some of your actions. You delude yourself that all your actions are worthy, whereas really they are not. And even though some good actions may result – their benefit is lost in the substantive damage of the rotted spiritual complex that comes from the terrible darkness of Forgetting God.
Polluted pride comes from the source of the double lie: basic unawareness of Infinite Greatness; and consequent unawareness of the true worth of the individual.
If pride presages the fall, so does lowliness presage elevation of the spirit.
The essence of Pride is foreign and hateful to my soul. But sometimes, I have to take on the borrowed characteristic of Pride, for purposes of social interaction.
True Humility [anava] is comprised of two things: Pride in Standing Proudly for the Truth [gaavat emet], and Humility in Vindication [anvat zedek].
Lust and Anger are rooted in Pride [gaava]. Because a sense of the true value and pleasure of life is lost through Pride – there is no room for ideal aspiration. Which, through desperation, leads to lust. Humility [anava], on the other hand, implies harmony with the universe, and a consequent benign and beneficial take on everything.
The inner connection to God, revealed at the core of everything that is separate from God, is the two-way highway to greatness. Man is great, and God is great, through this connection.
A great man must go to extraordinary lengths in order to fulfill his destiny. He should not be frightened of the sin of pride – but rather of the sin of false modesty, which is much worse. And by fulfilling himself, he causes great good in the world.