1) The humility of the Tzaddik brings him to the level of Nothing. This is what gives him the power to atone for sins (4:7).

2) A person who is truly humble becomes stripped of all his material aspects and merged with the Infinite. He then attains the awareness of how everything that happens to him is only for his benefit. To know this is to taste the life of the World to Come (Ibid. 9).

3) Pride brings poverty (Ibid. 8).

4) Humility is the foundation of true repentance. The essence of repentance is to feel your own lowliness and insignificance, to be aware of the wrong you have done, and to understand that even the suffering and murderous opposition you may have to encounter in your quest for the truth are perfectly just (6:2).

5) A person may have fasted a great deal and undergone harsh personal discipline and self-mortification. Even so, he should not arrogantly assume that he has attained the level of a Tzaddik, with the power to bring about redemptions or to accomplish great feats through prayer. If he examines himself carefully he will see that in spite of all his fasting and asceticism, his physical desires are still firmly lodged in his body -- not only his own desires, but even the lust his father had at the time he was conceived. As soon as he recognizes this he will be overcome with trepidation and he will no longer delude himself with the thought that he is a Tzaddik. Instead he will turn to the true Tzaddik to ask him to intercede on his behalf; he will bind his own prayers to the Tzaddik, and in this way he will restore prayer to its rightful place, which is with the true Tzaddikim. They alone understand the secret of prayer and the way to elevate prayer. God yearns for the prayers of the Tzaddikim and sends an eloquent flow of words to their lips (10:4).

6) There are certain arrogant people who not only refuse personally to go to the Tzaddikim to ask them to pray on their behalf, but who also try to prevent others from going as well. Such people deprive God of the prayers of the Tzaddikim for which he yearns so strongly (Ibid.).

7) Pride is a form of idol-worship. The way to crush it is by drawing closer to the Tzaddikim (Ibid. 5).

8) To break one's pride is the foundation for attaining wisdom, long life and vitality. The severe face which God shows is sweetened, and one attains faith, joy, the understanding of Torah in its revealed and hidden aspects, and ruach hakodesh, the spirit of holiness (Ibid. 11).

9) A person who is arrogant cannot even open his mouth. He lacks the faculty of speech and is unable to speak words which radiate with light. When words of Torah pass across his lips, not only do the words themselves fail to radiate within him and draw him to improve, worse still, the Torah itself becomes coarsened and dimmed on his lips (11:2).

10) Arrogance and sexual immorality are connected. A person who succeeds in resisting temptation and extricating himself from pride will attain the light that will illumine his path to repentance. In the end he will reach an understanding of the depths of Torah (Ibid. 3).

11) There is a form of humility which is the ultimate in arrogance. This is when a person acts humbly because he knows that people look down upon those who flaunt themselves. All he wants is to gain their respect and approval. His humility is for show: he really wants honor. It takes a good deal of intelligence and self-examination to rid yourself of pride: you must cleanse yourself of it completely. As our Sages said: `Be very, very lowly in spirit' (Avoth 4:4). The exile of the Jews from our land was caused by `seven idolatrous temples' (Gittin 88). This is a reference to pride. Even today people are still chasing after honor and prestige, and this is why the exile has still not ended (Ibid. 7).

12) Torah can only be acquired with meekness. There are four distinct areas where you must break your pride: you must be humble before those who are greater than you, before those who are on your own level, and before those who are less than you. And at times -- if you are the smallest of the small -- you must make yourself humble even in front of yourself: you must look upon yourself as if you were on a lower level than you actually are (14:5).

13) There are many different things which make people arrogant. You should be very careful about all of them. Intelligence, power and material possessions are the three main things which give people a sense of superiority. You must rid yourself of any trace of arrogance you may have in these three areas. Whatever intelligence, power or wealth you have been blessed with should give you a sense of meekness and humility (Ibid.).

14) The more you succeed in breaking your pride the greater your attainments in Torah will be. You will have the power to draw those who are far from God closer, and then the glory of God will be exalted and magnified. When glory is taken from the hands of those who have abrogated it to themselves and restored to God alone, the awe of God spreads. Through awe you can attain harmony within yourself, and this is the way to discover true prayer and to achieve universal peace, peace in all the worlds (Ibid.).

15) Arrogance can actually cause a person to be imprisoned (Ibid. 22).

16) There are times when people generally fail to guard their tongues. The danger then is that even those who are righteous and God-fearing will succumb to feelings of pride. It is essential for every individual to keep a careful watch on himself and ask if the honor and prestige he enjoys are really justified. Otherwise he runs the risk of falling into arrogance. Pride is the cause of the `Exile of the Shechinah' (58:10).

17) The less importance a person attaches to himself, the more drawing power he has: he is able to draw down the Shechinah to the lowest worlds to dwell with us. This was God's desire from the day He created His universe. Such a person has the power to draw men closer to the service of God, and he can channel blessing and goodness to the Jewish people. And he himself is able to draw closer to the Tzaddik (70).

18) Experiencing the sanctity of Shabbat is one of the ways of attaining true humility, which means to seeing one's own lowliness and understanding the greatness of the Jewish people and being willing to sacrifice oneself for them, like Moses did (79).

19) A person should look upon himself as if he were less than he really is. That is true humility. And at the very least he should not look upon himself as if he is more than he really is (Ibid.).

20) When a person is meek and lowly, no one will ever be able to shake him or push him from his place. No one can take away his livelihood, God forbid (Ibid.).

21) Humility protects against sexual temptation. Pride arouses it (130).

22) One of the ways of ridding yourself of pride is to celebrate the festivals with open-heartedness and joy, and to honor them in the most lavish manner you can afford (135).

23) If someone is humble, it is a sign that he is bound to the Tzaddik, because being close to the Tzaddik breaks one's pride (Ibid.)

24) When a person is so humble that he is literally nothing, he can attain Torah and greatness at the same time. Otherwise it is hard for the two of them to dwell together (162).

25) When a person is arrogant, it is a sign that he will end up in trouble. The opposite is also true: a person who is humble and lowly will come to great honor (168).

26) Whatever glory and greatness any kingdom or leader or ruler may possess, their true basis lies in humility. The greater the humility of the ruler or leader, the more his power and dominion will spread (Likutey Moharan II, 16).

27) Most people have very mistaken ideas about what it is to be humble. You must be very careful not to fall into the trap of false modesty. Pray to God about this and ask to be worthy of true humility in accordance with His desire (38).

28) In the resurrection which is destined for the future, the part of each person that will be restored to life is the modest, humble part and that alone. The indescribable bliss of the eternal life of the World to Come cannot be experienced by anyone except inasmuch as true humility and meekness are found within him (72).

29) At the root of every single Jew there exists an aspect of the humility and lowliness of Moses. Every limb of the body is suffused with them. However they are hidden and concealed to the point that they are `dead' as it were, and for this reason the average person does not consciously experience them at all, and he is far from being humble and lowly in the way Moses was. But as a person draws closer to the Tzaddik -- when he sees the Tzaddik, and especially when he hears Torah from his lips -- he is able to develop a sense of genuine shame and to achieve repentance. The humility and lowliness concealed in him will then come to life, and he will attain the true humility which is the gateway to enduring life in the World to Come.

30) We must pray and plead with God to make us worthy of true humility and lowliness. We really have no conception of what humility is. The aim is certainly not to be slovenly and act as if we consider ourselves worthless. Humility is the source of the life which is in every single limb. Humility is the life of the world to come and the essence of its joy (Ibid.).

31) If things are not going well for a person, he should understand it as a sign that there is still some residue of pride within him. He must repent and lower himself and bring himself to the level of Mah? -- `What?' Then things will begin to go well for him (82).

Online English translation of Likutey Etzot
A compendium of Rabbi Nachman's practical teachings on spiritual growth and devotion.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5766 / 2006