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Yes, We Can!

By: Mrs Michal Porat-Zibman

Yes, We Can!

This week’s Parsha begins with the exciting mission of sending the leaders of the nation out to the land of Israel, and it’s devastating and tragic result. The story itself is told in great detail. So when does the sin actually take place? 

Chet Ha’meraglim occurs when the nation lifts it voice and cries out. (Bamidbar 14:1) As careful readers of the text, we must look carefully and realize when it was that Am Yisrael cried. When was it that they had no other choice but to despair? When was it that they gave up hope? When did the 'chet' actually occur?

Interestingly enough, it isn't when we would expect it.

Personally, I would think that a description of the fortified cities and the difficult battle that would be waged, would be a reason to despair (13, 28). But it wasn't.

Maybe the mention of Bnei Yisrael’s arch-enemy, Amalek, or the other nations, would be a reason to cry (13, 29).

Maybe the reason which is one of the scariest, 'eretz ochelet yoshveha'(13:32), a land which swallows up its inhabitants, that would do it for them. But it wasn't.

At what point did the nation despair? At what point did they cry the cry that G-d 'nicknames' “Bechi shel Chinam?" a cry for nothing?

In pasuk 32: "Vanehi beineinu kichagavim, viken hayinu b'eineihem", ("And we were in our eyes, like, grasshoppers, and we think that’s how they saw us as well") and the immediate reaction in the next pasuk: "And the nation lifted their voices and cried out", tell us it wasn't the enemy, the land, or the fears that scared them.

"We were like grasshoppers in our own eyes"- This comes after the description of the Land but this is the description of themselves. This is how they saw themselves in reference to everything else.

The cry began when they underestimated themselves. The cry began when they lost faith in themselves, when they felt that the enemy viewed them as insignificant as grasshoppers, as nothing, when they focused too much in how they felt that society perceived them.

As a nation, Bnei Yisrael could handle every other challenge that they were to encounter. They could knock down the fortified walls, conquer the enemy, and even survive the 'eretz ochelet yoshveha'. They couldn’t go on however, if they lost faith in themselves, if they didn’t believe in their own ability.

And that’s when they cried. That’s when their downfall begins.

The downfall of Bnei Yisrael at this point is a challenge that has been echoed in the lives of our people since time immemorial. 

In our own lives, we each have challenges and obstacles which confront us. They confront us in our Avodat Hashem, in our dedication to Torah and Mitzvot, in every aspect of our religious lives.

Often the reaction of the society around us to our actions causes us to question and rethink that which we are committed to. Often our own second guessing of ourselves causes us to take a step back, sometimes too large a step.

As the summer begins to descend upon us, let us use these months as a time to reaffirm our connection and commitment to that which we hold dear to ourselves, to that which we want our lives and the lives of our families to be committed to.

Let us see the story in this week’s Parsha as a warning to us, not to underestimate ourselves, our mission, our goals, and the pursuit of our destiny. Let us derive strength from Yehoshua and Kalev, who were able to withstand the negative pressure and shout out 'alo na’aleh, ki yachol nuchal la!' Let us go and do it, for we can!'

Shabbat Shalom.




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