In Tehilim 93:1

יְהֹוָה מָלָךְ גֵּאוּת לָבֵשׁ לָבֵשׁ

which the Igeret HaRamban brings as a proof that one who is proud dons the royal clothing of God, thereby "rebelling against His Kingdom".

In this context, what does it mean that God dons pride? Pride for what?

  • Could you cite the relevant text of "Ramban"? | This seems like a simple question about the definition of a verse? Why complicate it with a reference to a letter?
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 27, 2016 at 21:33
  • @mevaqesh because i am trying to understand it in context of the ramban's letter as clearly stated
    – ray
    Dec 27, 2016 at 21:47
  • Note that pride isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's a difference between pride and arrogance.
    – DonielF
    Apr 16, 2017 at 3:16
  • The original in Hebrew: ועתה, בני, דע וראה, כי המתגאה בלבו על הבריות מורד הוא בלבוש מלכות שמים, שנאמר ה׳ מלך גאות לבש. ובמה יתגאה לב האדם? אם בעושר, ה׳ מוריש ומעשר. אם בכבוד, הלא לאלקים הוא....ואם מתפאר בחכמה, מסיר שפה לנאמנים וטעם זקנים יקח. נמצא הכל שוה לפני המקום....
    – DonielF
    Apr 16, 2017 at 3:27

3 Answers 3


It appears that you may be misinterpreting the intent of the reference to "pride" as shown in the translation of the Igeres HaRamban.

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 93

יְהֹוָה מָלָךְ גֵּאוּת לָבֵשׁ לָבֵשׁ יְהֹוָה עֹז הִתְאַזָּר אַף תִּכּוֹן תֵּבֵל בַּל תִּמּוֹט

The Lord has reigned; He has attired Himself with majesty; yea the Lord has attired Himself, He has girded Himself with might. The world also is established that it cannot be moved.

The word that you translate as pride is translated here as majesty. That is, since Hashem is the ruler, He is the one who "dons majesty". Thus one who attempts to exhibit pride or majesty is stating that he is the ruler and takes precedence. The analogy is to one who attempts to wear the robes (or crown) of the king. This could, in modern times, be like wearing judicial robes in a court room. Only the actual judge is allowed to wear judicial robes. It would be like the idiom of "donning judgement".

I think that this is the way the Ramban is expressing the idea in the Igeret. The translator used "pride" in the way that I used Judgement above or Majesty in the Chabad translation.

  • so how do you understand the ramban tying this to arrogance? "majesty" is from the king james translation probably because it is hard to understand it literally as the ramban did
    – ray
    Dec 27, 2016 at 21:55
  • @ray "Arrogance" is a human being acting with inappropriate pride. A king "dons majesty" because it is appropriate. Thus, Hashem is not acting with arrogance because he is appropriately in charge of everything. It is like someone being proud of an actual accomplishment, but not arrogant about it. Dec 27, 2016 at 21:59
  • @sabbahillel You may want to view Radak's comment on that verse, also. I think you are able to view deleted answers, so you should be able to see mine.
    – DanF
    Dec 27, 2016 at 22:24
  • @DanF yes i see it. Dec 27, 2016 at 22:26
  • 1
    Any source for this understanding?
    – msh210
    Dec 28, 2016 at 5:39

The Ramban means that only Hashem is deserving of the title of "Proud" because He is the ultimate cause of everything in this world. For example, if a fireman saves someone from a burning building, the fireman would be wrong for feeling proud about his accomplishment because it is only Hashem who gave him the physical capabilities as well as intellectual capabilities to make the rescue. Hashem also created the scenario that allowed him to make the rescue and was overseeing the rescue and controlling it from beginning to end. This concept applies to everything in life - whether you passed your CPA test, finished a Mesechta, or drove from Brooklyn to Lakewood. For this reason someone who feels pride about an accomplishment is actually limiting in sone sense his recognition of Hashem being in full control of everything.

  • Any source for this understanding?
    – msh210
    Dec 28, 2016 at 5:39

The sefer Hachinuch explains in numerous places that the attributes of G-d in the words of Tora are "כלפי המקבלים". This is a language which makes sense for the listener or the reader. גאות is eight, altitude, a gap between a man and G-d.

Similarly if we admire someone, we are impressed by the gap. If someone feels a gap between himself, he take for himself the feeling of gap he needs to feel for hashem.

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