The lesson of Neil Armstrong is a more uplifting one. Attempt to accomplish great things – indeed, take one small step by one small step in creating and becoming a giant leap of a man for all mankind – but remain humble while doing so. Reach the moon of accomplishment but don’t become arrogant and aloof as a result of your greatness. Retain and maintain humility and modesty. As Chazal (Avos 2:9) say, “If you have learned much Torah, don’t give yourself a lot of credit, for this is why you were created.” Feel as if you are just doing your job and don’t allow yourself to become a pompous celebrity. Never forget that you must view yourself as a servant, an eved Hashem, and don’t try to cash in on your “celebrity” in any way for self-serving purposes.
Perhaps these are some of the lessons we are meant to learn from the tale of two Armstrongs in Elul.
Rabbi Boruch Leff is an assistant principal at Torah Institute in Baltimore and the author of five books. To schedule a speaking engagement with Rabbi Leff or to receive two books for the price of one – “Shabbos in My Soul” and “More Shabbos in My Soul” (Feldheim) – or to purchase the book “Are You Growing?” (Feldheim) at 40% off, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.