”Every spiritual malady has a cure, except for pride.”
The above quote is from the Baal Shem Tov- the founder of Chassidism. His wisdom teaches us about the serious nature of pride, and the lengths we must go to avoid it- it is even worse than a lack of faith, or a lack of care in religious observance. Certainly, it’s worrying to think of pride in this way, as an incurable disease of sorts. But this quote also contains an uplifting message, one of hope.
Forget pride, for just a minute, and read the beginning of the quote.
Every spiritual malady has a cure.
It’s easy to become despondent over one’s spiritual shortcomings, but this defeats the point of Chassidism; to be joyous always and to love one’s G-d and faith. Instead, we should focus on the positive. We should search for the silver lining. And most importantly, we should work on self improvement. Rather than bemoaning one spiritual ‘malady’ or another, we should look critically at it and decide how we are going to cure it. Improvement is the key.
If we want to go from strength to strength, we’re going to need to work on it. And that means assessing our shortcomings, and being determined to tackle them. When we focus on the greatness of G-d and when we increase our emunah, we will realise how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. And even if this doesn’t cure pride straightaway, it lessens it so that we can dwell on the greatness of G-d.