The nuclear negotiations with Iran have taken up much of recent headlines, and have caused quite a stir in US-Israel relations  The age-old debate of how to contain a problem such as this continues. The carrot or the stick. Diplomacy or force. Which one? It got me thinking too. These debates are not only between countries, but are issues we as individuals can face every day as well. 

 When confronting someone whose actions go against our wishes, we tend to fluctuate between confrontational action and placation. We don't want to be stepped on and want to stand our ground, but would also like to be civil, courteous and not be petty and aggressive. Which way is correct?

 Well, the next holiday on the calendar, as I'm sure you're well aware, is Passover. Say the word Passover, and one thing comes to mind: matza! Why do we eat matza? There are several reasons, one of which is to remind ourselves of the suffering that our ancestors endured in Egypt, when they toiled day and night for the Pharaohs with only crusty hard bread to eat.

 Every Jewish ritual, mitzva and custom has deeper meaning. What's behind the matza, besides commemorating the hardships our people went through? Matza, as you know, is flat and unleavened. It cannot be let to rise, and if it does, it is "chametz" and prohibited to eat on Passover. Matza represents humility, a trait which the Jewish people have known very well, if not compulsorily, throughout history. Humility has very high priority in Judaism. Humility is the key to connecting with G‑d; the Talmud states that it is a trait that should be natural to every Jew. 

 Yet everyone knows how ambitious and determined Jews are. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it, "The difference between a poor immigrant Jew and a Supreme Court Justice is one generation". How can these two seemingly diametrically opposed weltanschauungs live together?

 When we speak of the importance of humility, the result is not a person drained of all self-esteem and purpose. Quite the opposite. A truly humble person is able to become a conduit to things greater then him or herself. A truly humble person is able to look at life and the world not from a selfish narrow viewpoint, but from the open minded perspective of one who's own personal setbacks don't inhibit the good they can do.

 That is matza - true humility. So the Jewish idea of humility has never been a hindrance to strong Jewish pride, but has been the very cause of it. The fact that one is aware that we are not only limited human beings, rather that at our core every single Jew has a soul, a "Neshama", that is literally a piece of G‑d and that we were placed here for a purpose with a mission - that is the greatest empowerment one could ever have. Humility opens the door for us to become something greater than ourselves.

Rabbi Avrohom