This month's Hassidut for the people:
Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter of Ger, the Chiddushei HaRim (1799-1866)
The Chiddushei HaRim, Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter of Ger (1799-1866), was asked:
The Torah commands that we purify the metzora with cedar and hyssop. Cedar, the reason is obvious, to atone for pridefulness. But hyssop, why? Is it not a symbol of humility and lowliness?
The rebbe responded:
Sometimes there is a need to atone for humility. A humble person comes to another and requests something good, and the requester thinks ‘what am I in the eyes of others and what is my value that I am worthy of good?’ And afterwards, for one that is injured in their self-respect becomes degraded of life - for this degree of humility one must atone…
Or if it comes to a person that one doubts their own worthiness before God, one must depart and alert with their own strength, and one is wrapped in humility and apology ‘Who am I and what am I, that (God) should hear my call?’ At this moment one has degraded one’s own life - one holds a grudge (against themselves) - this is invalid humility.
And what is the atonement for a person such as this? One should raise themselves up as a cedar, as it says ‘And raise oneself up in the ways of HaShem’ (II Chronicles 17:6).