The events of Parshas Shelach continue to shake us thousands of years later. They are the foundation of our national tragedy, the catalyst for the catastrophic golus in which we are trapped to this very day.
I would like to focus on one possuk which reveals what went wrong and what continues to go wrong: “There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of the giant …. We were like grasshoppers in our eyes and so we were in their eyes.” (Bamidbar 13:33)
I am no hero. I am not what I should be, yet I believe I have some insight into what the Torah desires of us. The Torah wants us to be like Dovid ha Melech, who could say, “I am a worm and not a man,” (Tehillim 22:7),but who could also say, “For with You I smash a troop and with my G-d I leap over a wall…” (Tehillim 18:30)
Essentially, we are nothing. Hashem created us from nothingness and our essence is nothingness, except that Hashem gave Am Yisroel a holy neshoma, a mission in this world which is to glorify His Holy Name. In order to accomplish this, He gave us the ability to rise almost infinitely above our natures. Thus, Dovid ha Melech, who describes himself as a “worm,” was able to “smash a troop and leap a wall.”
When ten of the miraglim delivered their devastating report, they failed the test of understanding that Hashem could lift us all to dizzying heights of greatness despite the fact that we may consider ourselves like grasshoppers.
The elemental psychology in this possuk is astounding. Clearly, if we believe that other people view us as grasshoppers, we are simply putting our own perspective into their eyes. What you think others think of you is what you think of yourself.
I may be a grasshopper, but – if I desire to identify myself with the infinite power of Torah – I am capable of becoming an invincible giant in the service of Hashem.
My friends, the current world crisis hinges on this truism. Those who want the Land of Israel to exist as a secular state – G-d forbid –view themselves as grasshoppers. Don’t we know that the only thing which has enabled us to survive our unique role in the world is that Hashem is with us?
Our entire history as a Torah Nation proves that we live the impossible!
Following our propulsion into golus after the destruction of our holy temples, we should logically have ceased to exist. That we exist today as Jews, that we keep the Torah of our ancestors …. this is the miracles of miracles!
We do exist, and we will continue to exist B”H!
“Hashem has redeemed Yaakov from a power mightier than he!”
Last week, much of the eastern and midwestern United States was blanketed by a smoky mass of polluted air from hundreds of Canadian wildfires. You could smell the smoke, “for behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven….” (Malachi 3:19) Hashem brings correction into the world when things get out of control. The smoke from the Bais Hamikdosh is swirling around us. We need to do teshuva.
My friends, we are suffering from Grasshopper Syndrome. I heard that a certain yeshiva has decided to shorten its davening because bocherim are impatient. We all feel like grasshoppers. We are shrinking into ourselves. We have forgotten that Hashem brings us to greatness.
There is a trend. It is partly a trick from manufacturers to save money. And then we buy into the current fashion because we are into the world of Edom. Some examples:
Hats are smaller. Why are brims shrinking. It’s partly the manufacturer tricking us, but I believe it’s also because we are embarrassed to look like godolim.
Coats are smaller. Today, when yeshiva bocherim walk in the rain, their pants get wet because “raincoats” and “winter coats” reach only to their waist. Why do they subject themselves to such indignity? Partly the manufacturer and partly embarrassment at looking like an ehrliche Yid.
Tefillos are shorter. There is a sickness among Am Yisroel to rush through davening and brachos. Are we afraid to understand the words we are saying?
My friends, we are davening for life, for survival in the coming collapse of Western Culture. Our entire world is shaking and trembling. Why are we afraid to pour out our hearts to Hashem to save us? What is wrong with us? Did we forget that the only sha’ar still open is the Gate of Tears?
Don’t think I’m telling you that my tefillos are where they should be. Far from it. That’s one of the reasons I cry during davening, because my own davening falls so far short. Every weekday, we say the words of Dovid Ha Melech, “I am wearied with my sighs. Every night I drench my bed. With my tears I soak my couch ….” (Tehillim 6). If we want to be like Dovid ha Melech, if we want to “leap a wall” and “smash a troop,” then we have to cry like Dovid and open the Shaar d’maos, the Gate of Tears.
Are we afraid to be big? Are we afraid of the “giants” around us? Are we also like grasshoppers? What’s wrong with us? Listen to the words of Yehoshua and Kalev ben Yefuneh: “If Hashem desires it, He will bring us to this Land and give it to us, a Land that flows with milk and honey. But … do not fear them!” (Bamidbar 14:8-9)
May we all be worthy to ascend to the Holy Land as Am Yisroel, the Holy Nation.
Grasshoppers? No, we are Am Yisroel, soaring on wings of eagles!
Bais Hamikdosh: Holy Temple
Bocherim: Torah students
Edom: Children of Esau/Western Culture
Ehrliche Yid: A fine, observant Jew
Gadolim: Great rabbis
Miraglim: Spies sent to explore the Land of Israel
Possuk: Sentence in the Torah