"G‑d descended in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tent. He called to Aaron and Miriam, and they both went out." (Num. 12:5)

Appreciation of G‑d's greatness is a result of one's immersion in Torah on all levels. There is no target, no ultimate goal for this reverence. When a person believes that, relative to others, he has attained great insights of the physical as well as that of the celestial aspects of the universe, these insights are as nothing - compared to the grandeur of G‑d Himself. The ultimate source of all wisdom is G‑d Himself. The more learned the scholar, the more humble he is apt to become…

This is the reason Solomon taught us in Proverbs: (22:4) "The result of humility is fear of the Lord". What Solomon means is that the more fear of G‑d one acquires, the more humble one becomes. The more understanding one gains of the greatness of G‑d the more one becomes aware of one's own insignificance. What does man have to offer that he should consider himself significant, important?

The cause of humility then is reverence for G‑d. The more learned the scholar the more humble he is apt to become. Greatness equates with humility because the truly great keep finding out how much is beyond their ability to ever comprehend. The ultimate wisdom we can acquire is the knowledge that we know very little. Modesty is a sign of one's deep insights into the greatness of the Creator…

In view of what we have just said it is natural that Moses is described as the most humble man who ever lived, for he had acquired more insights into the workings of G‑d and of the universe on all levels that anyone before or after him. Humility and modesty is a sign of one's deep insights into the greatness of the Creator. Anyone displaying arrogance, pretending to be superior, reveals that he is both shallow and hollow inside.

Having explained the nature of the virtue of humility, we can understand why G‑d allows His Presence to rest on the humble, the modest, and the most unassuming people. It rests on them because they have acquired the greatest insights, have the deepest appreciation of Him.

Even people who are not intellectually equipped to become humble through their studies, i.e. through recognizing the wide gap between what they know and what there is to know, may experience G‑d's Presence if they are poor or suffer other afflictions; these people make a point of putting their trust in G‑d. They are far more likely to do so than a rich man who believes that he does not need G‑d's help.

Rabbi Yochanan clearly states the point: "Any place where you find evidence of the greatness of G‑d you also find evidence of His humility." (Megilla 31)

The essence of reverence for G‑d then is an awareness of His greatness.

[Translated and adapted by Eliyahu Munk.]