Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Shelach – Numbers 13:1-15:41

Yesterday was a great day. Two colleagues sincerely professed shock at learning my age. One sat almost speechless for several minutes, unable to fathom I am five years older than he is. Being intentional about my diet and consistent with exercise really pays off sometimes. Because it’s easy to fall into the trap reported in this week’s parsha, Shelach:

In our eyes we were like grasshoppers and so we were in their eyes. (Numbers/Bamidbar 13:33)

Do You See the Real You?

Along with the story of the infamous twelve spies that led to G-d’s decree that the Israelites wander in the wilderness for 40 years, this week’s parsha details the meal and libation offerings that were brought with animal sacrifices. Next it covers the penalty for desecrating the Sabbath, then the commandment to wear tzitzis, fringes, on the corners of a garment.

Notice how curious the above verse is?

In essence the spies were so overawed by the Nefilim (giants) they lost faith in themselves and in G-d’s ability to fulfill His promise of bringing the Children of Israel to the Promised Land. They compounded their mistake by assuming the Nefilim saw them as insignificant vermin. But the giants were used to being around regular-sized people. They had no reason to think the spies were less significant than anyone else.

Compare this story to David and Goliath. A young, seemingly insignificant shepherd won the day by defeating a giant. David, who was small in stature, did not suffer from an inferiority complex. Rather, he trusted in his ability and in the Almighty’s help.

Do you find yourself facing insurmountable obstacles? Are they really so overwhelming or is self-doubt causing you to fail before you’ve begun? When you appear as a grasshopper in your own eyes it’s natural to assume you appear so in other’s eyes.

Think back to the time when your spouse thought you were the greatest, your children knew you could do anything, your friends marveled at your achievements. False visions you say! Really? Or is it that somewhere along the line a few things didn’t go your way and you lost faith in yourself. Few of us our giants, so don’t worry if you compare unfavorably with the Nefilim. But everyone, including you is, or was, truly a giant at one time and can be that giant again.

How much more could you accomplish if you saw yourself clearly, trusted in G-d’s help, and assumed others see you as a resourceful, able person?

What do you do to strengthen your self-image? Please comment below.


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved

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