Numbers 12:3 informs us that “the man Moses was very humble, more than any person on the face of the earth.”

This article cites Rambam's (Maimonides) view that humility is an exception to Rambam's general agreement with the "Golden Mean" rule, namely that every person should always be exceedingly humble and one should possess no trace of pride or arrogance whatsoever.

My rav explained that in Moshe's case, his humility may have backfired. His reasoning:

It began when Eldad and Meidad prophesied in the camp. Yehoshua suggests to Moshe that these men be imprisoned, to which Moshe, in a display of humility says, "If only ALL of the nation were prophets."

His brother and sister speak lashon hara about Moshe, and Moshe does not respond. Perhaps, knowing that Moshe would not respond, because he was so humble, was an incentive for them to do this. Seeing a lack of response, perhaps, led to:

Korach and his men causing the uprising. Had Moses not been so humble and demonstrated a command of his leadership with Eldad and Meidad, instead, there's a chance that Korach's rising may not have occurred.

Did Ramba"m take note of any of the above situations regarding Moshe and either based on this analysis, or for any other reason state, somewhere else, that a leader of a nation or important group should on occasion NOT demonstrate humility?

Note: A possible answer could include any other source that analyzed the above situations with Moshe and disagreed with Rambam's principle.

Note: Answers should relate specifically to analyzing Moshe's behavior and not regarding a general rule of how others should behave in similar situations.

  • 2
    I know that about the King Shaul, his Anava was not right in one situation and because of this he was disqualified/
    – kouty
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 21:30
  • To Shaul Shmuel said אם קטן אתה בעיניך ראש בני ישראל אתה
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 12:38
  • Gemara in 6st chapter of Eruvin said that Yehoshua was more Halacha bifne Rabo and because of this he has no childs,
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 12:40
  • 2
    Another possible answer would be to take the pesukim and Rambam into account and disagree with your Rav's chiddush. One can easily guess the opposite and say the situations would have been worse had he not been such an anav.
    – user6591
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 17:10
  • 1
    A possible answer may be the distinction between what is best for the individual (being completely humble) and what would have been best for the nation of Israel to have seen from Moshe at that time - standing up. This is not a contradiction, though - Moshe is punished for failing to sanctify Hashem's name (Lehakdisheini B'toch B'nei Yisroel) in a number of possible circumstances but Eldad/Meidad, Miriam/Aharon, and Adas Korach are not among them. Ergo, these are not failings of Moshe and his humility. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


end of hilchot talmud torah

When does the above apply? When [the person] spurned or embarrassed [the torah sage] in private. However, if one spurns or embarrasses a torah sage in public, it is forbidden for the sage to forgo his honor. Indeed, if he does so, he is punished, because the disrespect of the Torah is involved. Instead, he should seek vengeance and carry enmity over the matter like a snake until the offender requests to be pardoned. Then, he should forgive him.

btw, Moses' absolute humility was due to being so close to God. this is something that comes naturally to one who is in contact with God so closely.see this. when man is in such close contact with God he realizes just how small he really is.

  • Did rambam take note of any of the above situatios regarding moshe?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 13:34
  • "or for any other reason"
    – Yishai
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 15:32
  • @Yishai but that does not really seems to be the thrust of the OP, as in his added clarification he writes Note: A possible answer could include any other source that analyzed the above situations with Moshe and disagreed with Rambam's principle. Once again implying that only those scenarios with Moshe are the subject of the question.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 15:48
  • @danf in light of the above, perhaps further clarify whether answers not involving Moshe are appropriate.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 15:49
  • @mevaqesh, I don't think DanF gets your ping from here, you would have to write on the question.
    – Yishai
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 16:09

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