What Is Your Potential?
Yael Eckstein | June 17, 2020
“We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” — Numbers 13:33
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.
I like to give my children some encouragement in the mornings before they go off to school. Sometimes I write a quote on a piece of paper and tape it to the front door where I know they will see it. One of my favorites is a quote from Henry Ford, who once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
It is so important to believe in ourselves in order to achieve our highest potential.
In this week’s Torah portion, Moses sent spies to scout out the land of Canaan. When they returned and described what they saw, they said that the land was inhabited by Nephilim, towering giants. The spies implied that from the perspective of the giants, the Israelites seemed like mere grasshoppers with no chance of defeating them or conquering their land.
However, the truth is that the spies had no idea what the giants thought of them. The spies felt intimidated and saw themselves as grasshoppers in comparison to the giants. They assumed that the giants viewed them as insignificant insects as well, when in actuality the giants were terrified of the Israelites. They had heard about the Exodus from Egypt and the miracles that God had done on their behalf. If the Israelites had entered Canaan at that moment, the giants would have fled without a fight.
Tragically, because the spies didn’t believe in themselves or their ability to conquer Canaan with the help of God, they lost the opportunity to enter the Promised Land. It took another four decades, and an entirely new generation, to achieve that goal.
If the spies lost the opportunity of a lifetime because of their own misconception of themselves, what opportunities might we be passing up in our lives? How we see ourselves will ultimately determine what we are capable of accomplishing.
Each one of us is created in the image of God. Do you know that you are capable of amazing things? Or are you stuck in the grasshopper mindset, thinking that you are small and inconsequential? It’s time we recognized that we are incredible and capable children of God.
It’s only once we believe in our own greatness that we are able to achieve great things.
Your turn: What goal might you set out to achieve if you truly believed that you could succeed?