Parshat Shlach: The Secret To True Confidence
Confidence is one of the most imp
ortant traits in helping us succeed in life. When we believe in ourselves we perform better, we communicate more effectively which then enhances the quality of our relationships.
Like all human traits, confidence is highly complex with a wide range of variants. Perhaps the most important aspect of confidence is how genuine the belief that we have in ourselves is. It could be that we are just projecting a strength we do not really possess. Or maybe we have not yet been truly tested.
We are living in extraordinary times. Perhaps we are even experiencing the greatest challenge in our generation.
The lack of any coherent visibility is causing profound anxiety. Most political and business leaders across the world have lost confidence and a sense of direction. There is tremendous confusion and uncertainty as a result.
When the Jewish people were on the verge of entering the Promised Land they were suddenly overwhelmed with doubt. Ten of the spies had come back from exploring the land with a profoundly pessimistic report.
Their message was encapsulated with the words “ “We cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than He” (Numbers 13:31).
On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb, the two remaining spies, conveyed a totally different message. They reported “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30).
How can we explain the radical difference between the two reports of exactly the same experience?
The answer lies in a deeper understanding of the words “for it is stronger than He.” Our sages explain that the ten spies were in fact referring to G-d.
Herein lies the root cause of the negative and pessimistic assessment told by the spies. They placed themselves and their abilities at the center of the historical narrative of the Jewish people. They viewed themselves as the main actors in the unfolding story of our people.
Yes, it is true that G-d has chosen us as his partners in fulfilling his mission in this world. Yet at the same time, we must always remember that we are junior partners.
Our job is to do our best. This will in turn elicit the divine force embedded within us and the universe, which transcends the natural order and its inherent limitations.
True confidence can only be achieved when it is reinforced by a transcendental power greater than ourselves.