Bits of Torah Truths, פרשת חיי שרה, Parashat Chayei Sarah, The Humility of Abraham
In this week’s Torah Portion we read the following, יב וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַבְרָהָם לִפְנֵי עַם-הָאָרֶץ: יג וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל-עֶפְרוֹן בְּאָזְנֵי עַם-הָאָרֶץ לֵאמֹר אַךְ אִם-אַתָּה לוּ שְׁמָעֵנִי נָתַתִּי כֶּסֶף הַשָּׂדֶה קַח מִמֶּנִּי וְאֶקְבְּרָה אֶת-מֵתִי שָׁמָּה: 23:12 And Abraham bowed before the people of the land. 23:13 He spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, ‘If you will only please listen to me; I will give the price of the field, accept it from me that I may bury my dead there.’ (NASB) Note the humility of Abraham showing honor to the peoples from whom he sought to purchase land for burying his wife Sarah. Sforno on Bereshit / Genesis 23:12 Part 1 writes in his commentary saying the following, וישתחו אברהם לפני עם הארץ, He bowed down as a sign of gratitude. He thanked them as if Efron had agreed to the transaction thanks to their intervention on his behalf. Our sages in Kidushin 31 describe something parallel when they illustrate an aspect of the commandment to honor one’s father by describing that “when the son carries out an errand that his father asked him to carry out. The son will not ask the people of the city in question to do whatever he wishes in his own honor, but will ask them to do it in honor of his (the messenger’s) father.” Note how the rabbis interpret Abraham’s humility as honoring our Father in heaven. Obeying God is a natural result of humbling ourselves before Him. Fearing God (fearing life without Him) means we recognize His instructions as the way to live victoriously under His protection. This is how the concept of obeying the commandments are tied to being humble, or submitting our lives to the Lord according to the Scriptures.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves (NASB)
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
1 Peter 3:8
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
These things fall in parallel to the Messiah of God (Yeshua) who directs our attention to our Father in heaven. We study God’s Word, we apply His Word to our lives, we learn about him and draw near humbling our lives in order to know our Father in heaven, and to walk in the footsteps of the Messiah. This is how we grow in the Lord, and as we grow older we are able to pass the wisdom of these things on to our children.