Once upon a time there was a pipe. This pipe had been installed behind a kitchen sink and was establishing himself in the business of providing water to the faucets. Everyone benefitted from the water he provided. Indirectly, he helped people wash their hands, wash the dishes, provide water for cooking pots and drinking bottles. He was an important pipe but after a while people took him for granted. People forgot he was there. Everyone noticed the bright shiny faucets, but the pipe was not in public view.

Now this pipe didn't care too much about that. He was not really bothered by the recognition the faucets received. At least not in his conscious plastic pipe mind. His major concern was channelling all that water. He knew that water gives life and cleanliness, it is cool and pure and wonderful to the senses. He decided 'hey, if I'm functioning as an important water pipe- then that's what I must be! I want to hold onto all that wonderful flowing stuff! I'm a water pipe!'

So he froze the water. I didn't mention it, but this pipe was endowed with weird supernatural powers. He felt quite good about it for a bit but then after a while he noticed that something was wrong. Things had sort of stopped. Nothing was flowing in, nothing was flowing out. The water was a crystal cylinder, pipe shaped.

It took a short amount of time and a lot of trouble for the household to realise that things were very wrong with the water supply. Some of them were actually angry at the frozen pipe. Finally, the pipe had an epiphany. He realized that he was not supposed to hold onto the water. He couldn't identify himself that way. He had to let it go- he had to let it flow- in from the source .. then out.

Then he became a true water pipe.

The Hebrew word Ga'ava is spelled: Gimmel, aleph, vav, heh. In English we understand it to mean 'haughtiness' or 'pride'. It is interesting that it is also very similar to a word for 'body/corpse'- geviya- gimmel, vav, yud, heh.

If we take the goodness, the talents, the light, the life- all the gifts G-d has given us, and hold onto it within ourselves, we have ga'ava"

We have frozen divine energy into a graven image of ourselves. A graven image, by it's nature, cannot move, cannot change, cannot give.

I think it's amazing that the Hebrew word 'to freeze' has the root kuf, feh, aleph, phonetically cousins of the letters of ga'avah.)

If our being is filled with ga'ava Hashem cannot enter. There is simply no room. The system is clogged with coagulated energy which cannot move, cannot leave.

Ga'ava is one of the hardest forms of negative impulses to control because it is so subtle in its work yet so devastating in its effect. It can crystalise a person into an unchanging, lifeless parody of his true self, blocking his potentials, blocking his goodness, blocking love, blocking G-dliness. The more important a person, the more accomplished, the more smart, the more powerful the easier it is for him to fall victim to this most paralysing tendency.

Let us all try to be conscious of the divine flow within us, and enhance it as much as we can. We can keep open a portal from above by saying blessings with true intent, pausing before uttering the name of Hashem and giving ourselves time to arouse even the tiniest amount of awe and love . We can keep open the outlet by engaging in the commandments and good deeds trying to perform them in the most beautiful way we can. Within ourselves- simply let it flow. Don't try to identify with it. Don't even hold onto it to revel in it for personal gratification- because this good energy feels good. A proper effective flow will provide enough joy. G-d help us all to be free from conceit!

copyright © 2002 gila atwood

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