51 thoughts on “Failure, or: Humility”

  1. Failure turns on the taps….so we can wash ourselves in that fragrant liquid called humility.
    What a refreshing feeling, all the great men an women, the beautiful and the ordinary have never judged failure.

  2. This poem is a balm
    for the humility
    of my aching soul today.
    For you have said
    what I felt
    but couldn’t say.

    Merci pour ces drapeaux de priers
    Le vent les attrappe
    et il les nous envoie
    pour colorer nos cœurs
    avec des coups de soleil

  3. The comments in French strained my Schoolboy brain, but a good job was done by all. The comments are poetry by themselves. I liked the insideoutidness of the poem.

  4. we studied humility in our first week of Mussar. The catchword was “no more than my place, no less than my space”. It is a very difficult concept. Moses was said to be humble. But he was a leader who did not hesitate to take on Pharoah, Koreh and even his own sister. Plus, we are told to reprove our erring brethren if we witness misbehavior. So where is the boundary line between humility and tolerating wrongfulness? When, and not just if, we should sometimes judge others.
    But how?

    1. So where is the boundary line between humility and tolerating wrongfulness? When, and not just if, we should sometimes judge others.

      Peter, I had to read your comment several times to make sure I fully understood it. It may be the most serious and challenging comment that I’ve received. It’s a terrific point. When I wrote the poem, I wasn’t think about “wrongfulness” – I was thinking about people’s imperfections… but you are so right. There are definitely acts that I would judge somebody for severely. Where do I draw the line? I have absolutely no idea!


  5. David, you hit on why I found Mussar so difficult. Thanks.Patience vs. Alacrity, anger v. acceptance. Trust in God, but what if things are not well? Humility, but what if there are wrongs like racism, that require strong action, not acceptance or humility. The balance is so elusive. The only Mussar middah that really seemed natural was gratitude. We have our last class today.

      1. eight. We covered Alacrity, Anger, Gratitude, Honor, Humility, Patience, simplicity and Trust. The materials were from the Mussar Insitutue.

  6. Without humility we are just kidding ourselves and self deceived,, Look up at the stars..how big is anyone in comparison? This was so right on David! Failures are many, but humility is the real lesson to learn.

    1. True, but even it has limits. Moses was humble but knew how and when to be assertive, for example Korea and golden calf.. Same with Martin Luther King, he had to know how and when to defy authority. Humility is necessary but is not always the supreme virtue.

      1. Yes, you are correct but humility is a strength not a weakness in my thinking so there is no discord in being humble and assertive when needed; they can exist together. For me humility is more about knowing one’s place in the universe, knowing what we can do and what our Creator does do. I enjoyed your comment on my comment. Thank you.

        1. We agree essentially. I was trying to say as I think you do, that humility is not enough, that we need other virtues. The Mussar watchword is no more than my place, no less than my space.

          Figuring out the balance is the hard part. Thanks for responding.

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