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Shelach: The Torah’s antidote to an inferiority complex

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What is the Torah’s antidote to an inferiority complex? In Parshat Shelach Lecha, we are told how the meraglim, the spies, returned from the Promised Land. Ten out of twelve of them delivered an evil report; they said (Bamidbar 13:33),

“Vanehi be’eyneynu kechagagim vechain hayinu b’eyneyhem.” When we saw the tall people living in Chevron, we appeared to ourselves as if we were grasshoppers and that’s also what they thought of us.”

Now it’s one thing for them to describe how they were feeling but to presume that the inhabitants of Chevron viewed them as being like grasshoppers – how were they to know that? It’s obviously because they felt totally inadequate and inferior at that time.

On this passage the Kotzker Rebbe remarks that they shouldn’t have bothered about what the Canaanites were thinking of them. They should have concentrated on their own values and strengths. Let us actually look at the text: let’s see what Yehoshua and Calev, the two righteous meraglim (spies) said. First of all they said to the nation,

“Tovah haaretz meod meod!” – “This land is very, very good!”

They didn’t just say ‘tovah’ – good, or ‘tovah meod’ – very good, but ‘tovah tovah meod’ – very, very good! Their attitude was to look on the bright side, to be positive, to look at the blessings that Hashem had given them. In addition they said to the people,

“Im chafeitz banu Hashem heivi otanu,” – “It’s Hashem Who wants to bring us into the land.”

Their implication was: let’s trust in Him. They continued,

“ki lachmeinu hem,” – “they are our bread.”

Today we might say, ‘they’re toast!’ meaning: we can devour them. We are strong. We have power.

So therefore here we have the Torah’s four key points as it offers an antidote to an inferiority complex.

  1. First of all, don’t be bothered by what you think others are thinking about you.
  2. Secondly, be positively minded.
  3. Thirdly, recognise your own strengths and abilities.
  4. Finally, always trust in Hashem.

Shabbat shalom.