Taking a Backseat; Monday Morning Parable

At a gathering where the community of villagers congregated, the rabbis had taken seats together in the front row.

Arriving a few minutes late, Rabbi Nahman Ben Isaac took a seat in the rear of the hall.

One of his colleagues spotted him there and called out, “Rabbi Nahman!  Come up closer to the front and take a more prominent seat with us.  A man of your learning should not have to sit in the back row.”

“Thank you for the invitation,” Rabbi Nahman answered.  “While it would be an honor to sit with you, I am content where I am.  After all, have we not been taught, ‘It is not the place that gives honor to the person, but the person who gives honor to that place.'”

Having said that, Rabbi Nahman sat down, and all who were present were reminded that humility was his claim to greatness.

Source: Talmud, Ta’anit 7a

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