By Simon Jacobson
June 6, 2002
We were in our own eyes like tiny grasshoppers,
and so were we in their eyes
the scouts objectively were like midgets compared to the huge
giants they encountered, why did they just not simply say "and
we were like locust compared to them?"
here is the first reference to what psychology today calls 'projection.'
How you feel about yourself is what you project to others. How
you feel about yourself is how others will feel about you.
sent the scouts to inspect the Land of Israel and determine
how best to conquer the land. The grave mistake the scouts made
was that they did not suffice with a report on the best strategy
to conquer the land, but they went beyond their mission and
came to a conclusion: that we CANNOT conquer the land.
violated the most sacred quality of life: the confidence that
we can face all life’s challenges. They abused the most essential
question in life: Can we overcome every dilemma before us?
all know that life is difficult and challenging. Yet, belief
in G-d means that we have the power to face and overcome every
challenge. We never ask the question WHETHER we can do it; we
only ask: HOW we can do it?
our inner confidence erodes or is lacking then the forces around
us begin to look formidable. When the scouts saw themselves
as insects, then the giants around them also saw them that way.
The scouts themselves exposed their own weakness: Not that we
truly cannot conquer the land; we only PERCEIVE that we cannot
do it, and when you think you cannot, that then becomes your
when you are confident that you can face the challenge no matter
how formidable, that empowers you and your surroundings to actually
accomplish the task.
all about your confidence.
how does one gain such absolute, unwavering confidence, how
do we acquire the strength to face every challenge?
gain the power by connecting to that which is above us – to
G-d. We must become aware of our essential connection to our
life’s mission, to the Divine calling which each of us has been
charged with. Our absolute faith in this connection instills
in us the complete certainty that we have all the abilities
and resources that we need to fulfill our mission. Our absolute
faith in G-d and His promises to us infuse us with the firm
confidence that we can face every challenge before us.
and Caleb were the only two scouts that did not partake in the
mutiny of the scouts. They returned and said we CAN DO IT, we
can enter the Land as G-d promised us. Why were they different
than the other scouts? They connected their mission with special
prayers to G-d for success. Moses prayed for Joshua, and Caleb
went to the Cave of Machpelah in Chevron to pray at the gravesite
of the patriarchs and matriarchs.
through prayer and through our connection to the past do we
have the power to overcome the challenges of the present. When
you are stuck in a pit overwhelmed by difficulties, you cannot
solve the problem alone. “One in fetters cannot release himself,”
the Talmud teaches. Being in the pit you cannot free yourself.
By connecting to our ancestors, by praying to G-d -- we attach
ourselves to a force beyond ourselves and beyond the difficult
here and now. And this connection allows us the ability to transcend
the immediate hardships and overcome the present challenges.
Chassidim say, “When you are bound above you do not fall below.”
We may be small, but a midget that stands on the shoulders of
a giant – when we stand on the shoulders of the generations
before us – we can see farther than the giant.
message is more appropriate today. Our biggest question today
is: What does the future hold, and do we have the power to face
the challenges ahead of us? As we face an uncertain future –
having encountered enemies of humanity killing innocent people
both in Israel and America, and we continue to wage a war whose
future is unknown, a war that has destabilized the world – our
most compelling question is do we have the absolute confidence
and certainty to overcome anything that will come our way?
week’s Torah portion teaches us that the question is not whether
we can do it, but how we can.
have a choice to be overwhelmed or confused by the difficulties
around us or to overcome and grow through them. Will you see
yourself as an insect, or as a messenger of G-d? That is up
we continue our journey toward the Promised Land – both collectively
and personally, as we move forward in reaching our ultimate
goals – we must know, that no matter how daunting the challenge,
by connecting to G-d, we have the power to enter and settle
that you control the process. How you see yourself is how the
world will see you.
with confidence and strength of purpose, and the world will
support your cause.