Updated: Jun 14
Parshat Sh'lach is the parsha of punishment and consequence, the fateful parsha when the scouts enter The Land, obeying God's command to scout it out. Of the twelve scouts sent, only two returned feeling confident that the people would have the fortitude to conquer the land. The scouts were intimidated by the size of the fruit and the people. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, they referred to themselves as grasshoppers compared to the giants who lived there.
As a result of the scout's frightening reports and the horrified reaction of the people, God decides that this generation will not enter the land, but will wander in the desert for 40 years until the generation of elders died in the desert.
It is the idea of how we view ourselves that I would like to explore in this piece. What is it to see ourselves as mere grasshoppers, undervalued and smaller than those surrounding us?
Hoping that all of you reading this stand tall and proud like a lion, like a zebra....like yourself.
Creator of large and small,
of strength and weakness,
of ants and of whales,
give us the strength to see ourselves other than grasshoppers.
Grant us the imagination to see ourselves as a striped zebra running wild on the Serengeti,
or a polar bear withstanding the frozen Arctic winters.
Or perhaps a giant whale cruising through the kingdom of the seas.
Or a powerful king elephant raising his tusks, his voice bellowing through the air.
But may we also remember that even these animals,
great as they are, powerful as they might be,
climate change, poachers,
drought, pollution and fire.
Oh, Creator of All Things,
forgive us for imagining ourselves as a grasshoppers.
With their strong legs, their buzzing wings,
approaching fields like a looming black cloud
and wiping out people’s food supplies in minutes.
Forgive us for imagining ourselves to be an insect who can inflict so much harm;
Creator of large and small alike,
to imagine ourselves as ourselves.
Our best possible selves.
Let us picture ourselves standing tall,
inner beauty shining through outer bumps
proud of our strengths,
a mixture of pride and humility.
Let us not imagine ourselves as others,
animals great or small,
or others around us,
but just as ourselves,
for we, too, are worthy.
Let us bring our best possible selves to the table,
to the marketplace,
and to each other.
Let us always be true to ourselves.
Not to be afraid,
whoever we are.
Accepting of flaws
to acknowledge strengths.
Inside, we can stand as tall as a giant,
even if sometimes we feel that inner grasshopper.
Wherever you find yourself,
pull your shoulders back,
Grasshopper image taken from Wikepedia
Thus they spread calumnies among the Israelites about the land they had scouted, saying, “The country that we traversed and scouted is one that devours its settlers. All the people that we saw in it are of great size; we saw the Nephilim there—the Anakites are part of the Nephilim—and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.”
Numbers 13:32-33 (From Sefaria)
וְשָׁ֣ם רָאִ֗ינוּ אֶת־הַנְּפִילִ֛ים בְּנֵ֥י עֲנָ֖ק מִן־הַנְּפִלִ֑ים וַנְּהִ֤י בְעֵינֵ֙ינוּ֙ כַּֽחֲגָבִ֔ים וְכֵ֥ן הָיִ֖ינוּ בְּעֵינֵיהֶֽם׃