Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 52 - Rabbi Oded Peles

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

The State of Israel was established seventy five years ago due to the vision, courage and determination of leaders, who believed in their righteous path. Thanks to them, the State of Israel and all its inhabitants reached great spiritual and material accomplishments. 

In light of the current challenges and crises that shake this country, its society and every single one of us, I would like to recall one of the most central values which were a guiding light for some of our past leaders. The value of humility.

The first of the kings of Israel is said to have fled from greatness: “Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” (1 Samuel 10, 21-22).

It is said of the great prophets of Israel: “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12, 3).

The Ramban, in his letter, his spiritual last will to his son, wrote: “When you’ll be free of anger, your heart will be filled with humility, which is the best virtue of all the good virtues”. 

The virtue of humility is connected in the Kabbalah to the sphere of kingdom. Our sages taught in the book of the holy “Zohar” that the sphere of the kingdom does not have anything on its own, in the words of Rabbi Cook, “the kingdom of Israel is based on the virtue of humility”. In order to strengthen and guard the kingdom of Israel, we need leadership of humility. 

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, teaches that the value of humility allows us “to appreciate other people”, as he writes: “Humility is more than one virtue, it is a form of perception, a language, in which the “I” is quiet, so I can hear the “you”, the quiet call behind the human voice, the divine whisper in all these processes, the voice of others which calls me to redeem loneliness with the touch of love. Humility is what opens us to the world”.

I pray that we will have such leadership.


Rabbi Oded Peles

Rabbi Oded Peles, is the Rabbi of the conservative congregation “Shevet Achim” in Jerusalem, and an active leader of interfaith encounters in Jerusalem and in the Galilee.

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