In this week’s Torah portion we read how Moses warns the Jewish people that when they enter the land of Israel and become successful, they should not forget G-d. In the words of the Torah, “Beware, lest you eat and be satisfied and you build houses and settle and your cattle and sheep increase and you increase in silver and gold for yourselves and everything you have will increase and your heart will become haughty and you will forget Hashem your G-d..and you may say in your heart, :”My strength and my hand made me all this wealth!
Chassidic philosophy explains that in the psyche of all people there is the trait of arrogance. This trait of arrogance many times leads people to deceive themselves and believe that their success is as a result of their greatness alone and not pay attention to other factors besides themselves that led to their success. In his fascinating book “Outliers” the author Malcolm Gladwell shows that the most successful people over the past century in wealth, sport etc. owed their success more to circumstances then to their own doing. From the Jewish perspective these circumstances are directly orchestrated by G-d.
The Torah teaches us that arrogance is a form of idolatry and thereby is more spiritually damaging then all other sins. As our Sages teach us that although G-d says regarding those that sins “I dwell amongst them in their impurity, regarding a person who is arrogant G-d says, “I and him cannot dwell together.”