A Parasha Ponder by Renee Beyda
I recently attended a graphic arts class, and on my first day, I was impressed with the many glossy pictures of computer rendered apples that were displayed along the walls. When the professor informed the class that by the end of the program, our apples would replace the others, I began to panic. These “Galas” were terrific! The shapes were perfectly smooth, the depth on each was tangible, and the colors were vibrant and well placed.
My sister-in-law heard my fear and encouraged me with a clear and simple line. “If people less able than you can do it, you can do it!” I repeated this phrase to myself over and over again, wearing it like a shield against the self-doubt and discouragement I naturally felt throughout that challenging course. Now, I don’t mean to brag, but honest to G-d, after lots of hard work, I can proudly say, that in the end, my apple was the finest in my class! This inspiring motto proved to be an effective tool for success, a necessary engine in an intimidating world.
The account in this week’s upcoming Parasha, Parasha Shelah, reminded me of this lesson. Moshe sent men to scout out the land of Israel and they returned with a defeated attitude, announcing that the people dwelling on the land were too strong for the children of Israel to conquer. One of the scouts, Caleb, tried to counter the negativity. He said, “We can indeed go up and take possession of it, for we are truly able to do so.” But the other men continued their pessimism and a great fuss arose amongst the masses. Hashem got angry at the people for not trusting Him and declared that of the scouts, only Caleb, who had a different attitude, will enter and inherit the land.
Perhaps the Bible is trying to tell us that not only is faith in Hashem an important tool for success, but being positive is as well. I believe the Torah is trying to convey that if we gird ourselves with a Caleb can-do attitude and perhaps use talking tools that move us over obstacles, we and our families can conquer giants wherever they may be.