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HUMILITY

Humility and anger are related in the ancient Israelite myth (or the elaborated historical truth) of Moses. But what does modern ethical philosophy ("mussar" in Hebrew) have to say about this intuitively right pairing of contradictory emotions and behaviour? Especially now when Jews, like other minority groups, are at risk from terrorist attacks and a revival of anti-Semitism - including attacks by right-wing Jews on moderate Jews.

Moses has humility when he speaks modestly to a voice of God projected out of his psyche and heard by him as an echo and response when he is in a state of ekstasis -a standing-out-of-the-world (Heidegger 1962 passim). He says that he is "not an eloquent man... but I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue" (Tora: Exodus 4:10). As well as being a projection and of the order of the ecstatic (literally and metaphorically as ek-stasis - standing out of the world) this voice of God is perhaps a reaction-formation against Egyptian polytheistic animal-worship and worship of the solar and star systems which are very African ways of being-in-the-world (Mbiti 1969 p. 50 f.)

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