By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey
In this week’s Torah portion (Bamidbor [Numbers] 13:1-15:41) we read how the spies sent to explore the Land of Canaan reported that “there we saw the giants . . . and we were in our own eyes as locusts, and so we were in their eyes.” (Numbers 13:33).
Effectiveness in life is predicated on believing in oneself, and then actually getting up and out, and doing what needs to be done.
And that's where the spies fell down on the job: a lack of self-confidence. “…We were in our own eyes as locusts—and thus, “so we were in their eyes.” How another person sees us depends on how we see ourselves.
Obviously, the spies own low self-esteem led the Canaanites to have equally poor estimation of the Jews' ability. When we act strong, with an expectation of success, others tend to be awed by our aura, and victory is inevitable. Conversely, when we walk small, conscious of our (perceived or real) immaturity and incompetence, then other's opinions automatically accord with our expectations.
My job is to do the right thing, irrespective of anyone else’s approval. We're on a mission from G‑d, and can't afford the time or trouble to even worry what the spectators will do or say. From this take on the story, the sin of the spies didn't begin when they refused to scale the heights, but started long before when they allowed themselves to be distracted from their mission by wondering what the natives were thinking about them.
True self-belief is self-referential. An absolute certainty that I'm doing the right thing and I will continue fighting till the job is done. It might take courage to head off on a journey of conquest without even a small look back over your shoulder, but that is the only way to guarantee that you'll arrive safely in the Promised Land.
(Excerpts from Chabad.org)
May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!