There’s a saying: “Acharei mos, kedoshim,” suggesting that after someone passes away, we sing their praises and overlook their faults. While people usually express this truism with cynicism, is it really as negative as it sounds?
Some will say that it’s easy to see the positive in a person once they aren’t actively challenging our ego or harming us. But I think that it’s more than that. In general, we appreciate something when we no longer have it and can only look back and remember it.
This question might sound funny, but is it even possible to appreciate something while we still have it? Even if we currently possess something and can indeed appreciate it, to do so most of us will recall an earlier time in which we didn’t have it or compare ourselves with someone who doesn’t have it.
It would seem, though, that with humility one can appreciate something they’ve always had as well as everyone around them. When one feels humble and leaves space for others, then the things they have and even the breaths they take are appreciated and bring joy like an unexpected gift.
Being humble allows us to thrive in life as well. It allows us to listen to others, to see life in a realistic way, and to be in touch with our truest, innermost self (not to be confused with our selfish side..).
It says that like Moshe Rabbeinu, Mashiach will be extremely humble. He will learn with the avos and yet will relate to the simple person. Cultivating the middah of modestly might be another fine way to prepare for his arrival.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and joyous Lag B’Omer!