Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Arrogance is the Root of all Vices

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto 

“But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and I will increase My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt” [Vaeira 7:3]

Rashi explains: “But I will harden”: Since he [Pharaoh] behaved wickedly and defied Me, and I know full well that there is no delight among the nations to make a wholehearted attempt to repent, it is better for Me that his heart be hardened, so that [I can] increase My signs and My wonders in him… Nevertheless, in the first five plagues, it does not say, “And the Lord strengthened Pharaoh’s heart,” but “Pharaoh’s heart remained steadfast.” These are the words of Rashi. Since Hashem saw that Paroah had intentionally hardened his heart, He reinforced his hardness of heart, but at first, despite all the plagues that befell him, Pharoah persisted stubbornly in his rebellion and was not inclined to do teshuvah, even after seeing the truth before his eyes that whatever Moshe said came true with every plague.

We need to clarify, from where did he get the strength to persist with his wickedness and hard hardness and refuse to let the Jews go. After all, the Egyptians were struck with painful plagues, so why did he not change his mind?

This is because the vice of arrogance was his ruination. Arrogance is the root of all vices.

When a person is proud and arrogant, he is not ready to listen even to true messages that others tell him, even if he sees the truth before his eyes. His arrogance blinds him to the obvious truth; consequently, he becomes trapped by his pride.

On the contrary, when a person behaves humbly and unassumingly, he is a receptacle for all positive virtues. He has a sympathetic ear to hear others and is capable of accepting his fellow’s point of view. If the latter is right, he admits the truth and accepts those who say it, whether they are younger or older than him. However, Pharaoh, the wicked, did not behave in this way. He stubbornly hardened his heart despite the painful plagues.

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