Rav Berland’s Prayer to Merit to Humility

Translated to English from Tefilah L’Ani: Leket Tefilot u’Vakashot

Prayer to Merit to Humility

Ribono Shel Olam – Master of the World, let me merit to see my lowliness in truth.  Let me merit to true humility, to true lowliness, until I shall be lowly in my eyes, below my very lowly level, and at any rate I will not go out of my level and my place, and I won’t deceive myself, G-d forbid, that I already have some kind of level or virtue, and I will recognize my place, very lowly and inferior without measure or number, and that there should not be in my heart any hidden pride, G-d forbid, which drives me away each time from You, and my prayers won’t be rejected, as happened to Kayin, as it says of him, “And to his offering, He did not turn” (Breishit 4:5), and I won’t stumble in the downfall of Hevel, that because of hidden pride he was killed, rather that I should merit to see my lowliness in truth always, until I merit to see every single blemish which I blemished, from my time on the earth until now, I will recognize my innumerable shortcomings, and I will merit to clear and supreme vision, to the eyes of the Tzaddikim, to the aspect of “the eyes of Hashem are to Tzaddikim” (Tehilim 34:16), who merit with their eyes to see their lowliness in truth, and I will not deceive myself any more, G-d forbid, that I already have some virtue, or some comprehension, or understanding in the service of Hashem.  Let us merit to comprehend the ways of true humility, which are the source of life, happiness and joy, until that through them we can see the greatness of Your holy people Israel, and the importance of every single Jew, and to sacrifice ourselves in truth for every single individual from Your people Israel, the holy people.

Ribono Shel Olam, let me merit to cling to the humility of Moshe, who said (to the Satan), “But what am I that the Kadosh Baruch Hu gave me Torah?”  The Kadosh Baruch Hu said to him, “Are you a faker?”  He [Moshe] said before Him, “Ribono Shel Olam, a hidden treasure which You delight in every day – shall I take credit for myself?!”  The Kadosh Baruch Hu said to Moshe, “Since you minimized yourself – it shall be called after your name.”  Please, let me merit that lowliness and humility will be my portion, and that shame and fear will fill my entire being, and I will be like Moshe Rabbeinu a”h, who never took credit for himself, and minimized his self-importance from day to day, until he merited to be included in the light of the Infinite.

Ribono Shel Olam, let us merit to the knot of Tefillin [which] You showed to the humble one.  Let us merit to the level of humility and nullification of Moshe who said, “Please send through whomever You shall send,” and he meant by this, “Any other person in the world is more fitting than me.  Let us merit to his awesome submissiveness, when he contended with You, when he saw the soul of Rabbi Akiva on high, that he was fitting for the Torah to be given through him.  Let us merit to his awesome lowliness like how he lowered himself even before Korach, and said to him, “I also want it so, that you will be Kohen Gadol.”

Our Father, we know that You therefore chose only him to take the people of Israel out of Egypt with a high hand, and only he can, in the future, through the power of this wondrous humility, return every soul to the body fitting for it, because the revival of the dead is dependent on humility and lowliness.  Please let us merit, our Father in Heaven, to this awesome humility and lowliness, which is the dew of resurrection.

Please, Merciful and Gracious One in truth, Who pities the impoverished, and Who has mercy on the destitute like us, boorish, impoverished of intelligence, who clear off their shoulder and stiffen their neck to all Your good advice which You send to them every hour and moment.  Please, Merciful and Gracious One, open all the doors of the heavens and the gates of counsel.  Teach me and instruct me the ways of Your holy and wondrous counsel, [both] revealed and concealed, from the books of Your true Tzaddikim, and illuminate upon us all the counsels which come from the Sefirot [Divine emanations] about which Moshe the faithful shepherd said, “We will go with our youths and elders, with our sons and daughters, our flocks and cattle” (Shemot 10:9), which are constricted consciousness and expanded consciousness, consciousness of kindness and consciousness of strength, which he drew onto Israel, Your holy people, in the merit of the holiness of the brit (covenant).  And if Moshe the faithful shepherd had not been revealed, G-d forbid, behold, even if we all were wise, understanding, and knowing the Torah in the mystery of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, we wouldn’t have been able to raise the prayer to its source and to bring the redemption.

Let me merit to reach true lowliness through which one merits to the revelation of the Foundation Stone, as David merited, as it says of him, “He is the small one” (I Shmuel 17:14), that in his humility he was the pillar of fire which went before the camp of Israel and merited to reveal the gate of heaven, the place of ascent of prayers in Jerusalem, of which it is said, “[It] will be lofty and settled underneath it” (Zechariah 14:10), that the more a person ascends in it, so he merits to see his lowliness more and more, until he merits to see that he is far beneath his own level, and his lowliness and distance from Hashem Yitbarach is revealed to him more and more with each and every ascent.

Please, my Father in Heaven, let me merit to know that I am inferior and mediocre, even from my own low level, and the more that I see my endless mediocrity, so reveal to me more and more of Your Torah which has no end, because the more that I know more and more that I dwell in the lowest abyss, so may You have mercy on me and illuminate in me Your light to revive.

Ribono Shel Olam, All-Capable, from Whom no purpose is impeded, let me merit to fulfill what is said in Torah 14 (Likutey Moharan): “A person doesn’t merit to Torah except through lowliness, as Chazal said “from the desert, a gift” – to shatter one’s pride with four aspects of lowliness.  Because a person needs to minimize himself before those greater than he, and before people on his level, and before those smaller than he, and sometimes he himself is the smallest of the small and needs to minimize himself opposite his own level, and to imagine in his eyes that he is lower than his level, in an aspect of “sit, each man, under himself.”  And to be like Mount Tabor, which saw that the ascent of honor is dependent on this, that a person shatters his pride – according to the shattering of pride, so is the ascent of honor, because his honor ascends through the Torah, and a person doesn’t merit to Torah except through lowliness, as Chazal said “from the desert, a gift” (Bamidbar 21:18), and this is “Mount Tavor” – “Mount — Har” is a language of greatness, as it is written “You supported my greatness/hareri with might (Tehilim 30:8) and “Tavor” is a language of breaking, and Har Tavor is four parsas, which are four aspects of lowliness.

Therefore, let me merit, Ribono Shel Olam, in Your abundant mercy, to minimize myself in the four aspects corresponding to all the Tzaddikim of the generation, that I should know in truth and in true faith that I am the worst in the world, more than all the Tzaddikim, and that I should also know certainly and in truth and simply that I really am worse than all the average people in the world, and that I should even more so know with certainty that I am worse than all the inferior people in the world, and in truth there is no one worse than me in the entire world, and after I already know with certainty that I really am inferior and in truth there is no one worse than me, I should know that I still have not begun at all to feel in truth the inferiority of my Neshama, Ruach and Nefesh, rather I really am far worse by countless levels much more than what I truly think, and however much I should think that I am more and more inferior, still this is not enough for the greatness of my endless inferiority.  And I shall know in truth “that I am a boor of a man and lack human understanding” (Mishlei 30:2), “And I am a boor and unknowing; like animals I have been with You” (Tehilim 73:22).  And after I merit to know all of this, let me merit for my heart to open to learning Your Torah, to know all Shas comprehensively and in depth with all Rashi, Tosofot, Rif, and Rosh, and all commentators on Shas and their commentaries, and all the Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch with all their commentaries, and all the books of responsa, books of Musar and Chasidut, and especially the books of Rabbeinu HaKadosh and his student Rabbi Natan and their students’ students until the end of all generations, and through this let me merit to find You in every single moment and to see You face-to-face, as is written in the giving of the Torah “Face-to-face Hashem spoke with you on the mountain from within the fire” (Devarim 5:4), and through this let me merit to know the entire Torah, and to merit to go through all of Shas every year; the Divine image will rest upon me, and I will merit to be an aspect of the supernal image and likeness, and merit to all 370 lights which come from Arich Anpin and Atika Kadisha.

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