Anavah: Humility - Unlike the traditional definition of humility, the Jewish definition of a person who has humility is someone who takes up just the right amount of space. A humble person is one who has a healthy sense of self-esteem and is hospitable to others. That means that he does not think he is better than others but also does not feel that he is worse.

By taking up the right amount of space – being neither arrogant or unworthy -- the person with humility welcomes the opportunity to learn from others. A humble person understands that every person she encounters has the opportunity to teach her something.

Full issue of Sh'ma Journal on Anavah/Humility:

Videos: Written, drawn, and animated by Hanan Harchol. Hanan impersonated his parents' voices. More animations by Hanan Harchol as well as study guides by Rabbi Leora Kaye are available at

Reflections by 7-8th graders at Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline MA on anavah/humility: Written, drawn, and animated by Hanan Harchol. Hanan impersonated his parents' voices. More animations by Hanan Harchol as well as study guides by Rabbi Leora Kaye are available at


Guided meditation on balancing anavah and kavod (R. Sheila Peltz Weinberg):

Focus phrases:

  • Not too much, not too little
  • It's not about me
  • Feeling comfortable in my own skin
  • “No more than my space, no less than my place” – Dr. Alan Morinis


Always seek to learn wisdom from everyone, to recognize your failings and correct them. In doing so you will learn to stop thinking about your virtues and you will take your mind off your friend’s faults. (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lefin of Satanov, Cheshbon haNefesh).
D'var Torah on Anavah in parshat Ki Tisa (Shelby Haverson):
RH sermon on "Practicing Anavah" (Rabbi David Ackerman, Beth Am Israel, Penn Valley PA.

Chants and Songs:

Niggun: Elohai neshama shenatata bi tehora hi

Posters and Banners:

Anavah/Humility poster and "conversation starter" (Beth El, Sudbury MA):

Anavah poster (Bet Haverim, Atlanta GA):
bet havrim anavah poster.png
bet havrim anavah poster.png

Congregation B'nai Keshet
Anavah - hineni.png
Anavah - hineni.png

Congregation Beth El
  1. November Poster on Anavah/Humility: Nov main poster
  2. November "Conversation" on Anavah/Humility Nov conversation poster Anavah

Anavah PPT for families (Susan Zuber-Chall, Beth Sholom, Topeka KS):

Divrei Torah

JTS Haar Family Memorial Kallah: Making Peace, Transforming Conflict - Parashat Vayera (SCHEDULE)
Haar Family Memorial Kallah: Making Peace, Transforming Conflict - Parashat Vayera; PURSUING PEACE IN OUR LIVES AND OUR WORLD, Rabbi Amy Eilberg; Tochecha: The Sacred Practice of Disagreeing in Love, Rabbi Amy Eilberg; Humility and Empathy in the Pursuit of Peace, Rabbi Amy Eilberg


Lesson Plans:

Anavah - Chicagoland Jewish High School Middot Minyan Lesson Plan:
Anavah: handout from shuyl retreat, Bet Haverim, Atlanta GA:

General Material:

  1. NYU Anavah
  2. Congregation Beth Israel
  3. Congregation B'nai Jacob
  4. Congregation B'nai Keshet
    1. Anavah.
  5. Chochmat Halev
    2. DRASH parashat va'yeishev
  6. JCC of San Francisco
    1. Anavah TMP
  7. JTS
    1. General Texts on Pursuing Peace Friday night JTSKallah.pdf
    2. KallahSchedule2014.doc
    3. Tochecha Handout for JTS Kallah11 14-2 Shabbat morning.pdf
    4. AnavahandEmpathyHandout Shabbat afternoon-JTSKallah
    5. ANAVAH HANDOUT - JTS Resnick
  8. Congregation Beth El
    1. An Anavah Success Story, Nov. 24, 2014: Anavah Letter from Beth El President Nov 2014.pdf
  9. Reconstructionist Rabbinical College In the English language, humility is usually associated with meekness. Not so in Hebrew. The Torah describes Moses—the preeminent leader, the one who confronts Pharaoh and even God—as “the most humble (anav) of people.” In the Musar tradition, humility (anavah) is understood as self-esteem, a midpoint between arrogance and self-deprecation. One practices this middah by taking up the right amount of space.
    As with all middot, the practice of anavah begins with mindful self awareness—hitlamdut. In this meeting or that relationship, how much space do I occupy? Am I mostly silent, listening to what others say and devaluing my opinions? Or do I speak frequently, interrupting others, not allowing them to speak? When I speak on the phone to a friend or a family member, is it mostly me talking about what’s important? Or do I defer to the other person without seeming to get a word in edgewise? Neither of these extremes is optimal. Humility involves appropriate self-esteem and mindfully “showing up” as is needed in any situation. It is a practice of saying “Hineni” (Here I am, ready to serve) in every situation.
    I practice this by chanting “Hineni” over and over as I drive to work in the morning.
  10. Temple Beth Sholom
    1. anavah bulletin article
    2. ANAVAH
  11. Temple Ohabei Shalom
    1. Blog Post on Anavah
    2. Anavah Reflection by Hilda Lopez here and one by Dorothy Lebach here
  12. Temple Sholom
    1. The Tikkun Middot Project for Cheshvan: Cultivating Avanah/ Humility
    2. Religious School handout on Anavah: 01- Morinis on Anavah (Humility)
  13. The New Shul
    1. Anavah Lobby Project
    2. Anavah Family Table Talk
  14. Westchester Jewish Community Services
    1. Humility
Middot HaRa’ayah