The Foundation of Courage Is Faith

Yael Eckstein  |  June 20, 2022

twelve spies carrying back fruit from Canaan

These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.) – Numbers 13:16

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Shelach, which means “send,” from Numbers 13:1–15:41.

With everything that’s been going on in the world lately, I hear from so many people that they are more worried than ever before. War in Europe, the long-term effects of the pandemic, and economic pressure from problems like inflation have all contributed to these anxieties.

For me personally, what’s most troubling are the reports that rates of depression have been on the rise among the youth. As a mother of four I can say, that with their lives still ahead of them, we need our children to be happy, confident, and optimistic about the future. It pains me that so many are young people are suffering.

But the message to our children must be honest. Our children don’t need to be told that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about. What they do need is courage. And the foundation of courage is faith in God. Faith means that I know that no matter how dark things are, God is in control and the future is good. Our children need to hear this message from us.

The Foundation of Courage Is Faith

This week’s Torah portion teaches us the message of courage through faith. After listing the names of the 12 spies Moses sent to survey the promised land, the Bible tells us that Moses changed one of their names, “These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua).”

In Hebrew, this name change meant that Moses added the letter yud – the “y” sound – to the name Hoshea. The Jewish sages explained that Moses did this so that the first two letters of his name would now be yud heh, which spells Yah, one of the names of God.

Moses did because he suspected that the other spies were fearful and he wanted to protect Joshua. Sure enough, Joshua showed courage. He didn’t fear the Canaanites like the ten spies who brought back the evil report.

We must call the name of God over our children, grandchildren, and the entire next generation. With faith in God, they will see through all fears and threats and declare, like Joshua, “the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid” (Numbers 14:9).

Your Turn:

Are there young people in your life? Speak to them about faith in a good future. Remind them that God is with them.

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