And what is true humility? Rabbi David Wolpe, in his new book, Why Faith Matters, recounts his wife explaining just this to him, as a young rabbi overwhelmed and intimidated by his first "deathbed" visit.
That night I came home and my wife asked me how it went. I told her I felt like a fraud, that I had an overwhelming sense that I was not up to shepherding a soul in its final moments on earth. Who am I to do this? I felt unworthy. ‘You are right,’ she said. ‘You are unworthy. Anyone would be unworthy. But it is OK, because you are not doing it. It is being done through you.'
A similarly powerful sentiment is articulated by Bruce Springsteen, in which he recounts life after 9/11, and his experience with Americans' need for him to return to the music scene as both a source of artistic strength and a conduit of collective sentiment.
Interviewer: So you feel the call from your heart?
Springsteen: Yeah, I can hear the bells chiming. I’ve had a long life with my audience. I always tell the story about the guy with “The Rising”: “Hey, Bruce, we need you!” he yelled at me through the car window. That’s about the size of it: You get a few letters that say, “Hey, man, we need you.” You bump into some people at a club and you say, “Hey, man, what’s going on?” And they go, “Hey, we need you.” Yeah, they don’t really need me, but I’m proud if they need what I do. That’s what my band is. That’s what we were built for.Humility, expertly explained by a rabbi's wife and a guy named Bruce.