Shlach l’cha – Numbers 13:1 – 15:41, The Parashat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, June 29, 2019

We often view ourselves quite differently than others see us. We are usually our own harshest critics, painfully aware of our flaws while minimizing our talents and our strengths.
So it is with the Israelites in this week’s Torah portion, Shlach-l’cha. God commands Moses to send spies into the Land of Cana’an, to scout it and bring back intelligence, to prepare the Israelites to conquer it. When they return, they report that it is a rich place: “it does indeed flow with milk and honey,” (Numbers 13:27). But it is inhabited by powerful people, who looked like giants to the Israelite spies and, speaking of themselves they said, “we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.” (Numbers 13:33)
We don’t really know how the Cana’anites viewed the Israelite spies, but we do know that the spies projected their own insecurity into the minds of the Cana’anites. The spies’ own self doubt inhibits their ability to bring back good intelligence to help the Israelites.
Further, their report undermines the faith of the Israelites in God’s promise that they will prevail in the conquest to come. Thus they are condemned to wander in the desert until the generation of slaves dies and is replaced by a new generation of free people.
How many times have you stopped yourself from doing something because you are not sure that you can?
The message in this week’s Torah portion is clear. Have faith, at least in yourself, to take risks. Who knows, you might succeed. If you don’t try, we know from this week’s Torah portion, that we then condemn ourselves to wander in a desert of our own making.