In the beginning of the Ramban's letter to his son, he talks about the importance of not getting angry, and that this will lead to humility.

He says that a person should "speak gently to all people at all time, this will protect you from anger." "Once you have distanced yourself from anger the quality of humility will enter your heart, as it is written (Mishlei 22:4) 'on the heels of Humility comes the fear of HASHEM.'"

More to the middle of his letter, the Ramban says (in the English translation) "How a person may accustom himself to the quality of humility? ... Let your words be spoken gently, let your head be bowed, cast your eyes downwards and your heart heavenwards. When speaking, do not stare at your listener, and let all men seem greater than you in your eyes."

I asked my brother why it says two different ways to get humility (he read the Iggeres HaRamban in Hebrew) and he said that the first time the Ramban talks about humility, he's telling a person what to do to become humble, but the second time he talks about humility he's just listing different traits of humility.

Is my brother correct?

  • 1
    Actually, to me, it looks like the reverse. At the beginning, he seems to give a generality of the quality of humility, esp. by citing Mishlei. The middle of the letter gives specifics of how to do it. Regardless, one cannot be humble unless he first fears G-d. Otherwise, he always feels that he is more powerful than G-d and does whatever he wants w/o understanding the consequences. But, it seems that in citing Ramba"n, you have answered your own question. So, what are you really asking, here?
    – DanF
    Feb 28, 2016 at 15:53
  • I would like to point something out that you said that i perceive as incorrect according to Ramban. you said that a person needs to fear G-D first in order to become Humble. The Ramban is saying quoting Mishlei 22:4 "on the heels of Humility comes the fear of HASHEM." So it seems to me that this means that a person needs to work on Humility in order to get a fear of G-D. perhaps my understanding is mistaken and if it is please tell me.
    – Mishlei
    Mar 1, 2016 at 14:09
  • my question that I'm asking is, which part of the letter is correct about how to become Humble. does a person just have to speak gently as the Ramban suggests at the beginning of His letter or does a person have to work on several different things to become Humble like the Ramban states in the middle of His letter?
    – Mishlei
    Mar 1, 2016 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


in shaarei kedusha Rav Chaim Vital says anger and arrogance are two sides of the same coin. so the first part is to get rid of arrogance (which is the first step to humility) while the second half is to go deeper into the trait of humility. (a sort of turn away from evil and then do good ps.34:13)

see the "Path of the Just" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato for the correct order of ascent to genuine humility.

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