Thursday, June 30, 2016

We Are Greater Than Angels

In this week's parsha, Shelach, we read about the spies that toured Israel, conspired against Moshe and Hashem, and gave a twisted report, aimed at getting the Jewish people to doubt that Moshe, or for that matter, Hashem, would be able to conquer the land of Israel.

One of the arguments they used was, "And there we saw the Nefilim, the children of a giant, from the Nefilim, and we were as grasshoppers..."

Who were these Nefilim? Why would the Jewish people even consider, that they would be too powerful for Hashem to conquer? Especially after all the miracles they witnessed. What lesson can we derive from here, with regards to the nature and the abilities of the Jewish people?

Rashi explains that the Nefilim we are referring to here are the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, two angels that assumed material form and descended to earthin the days of Enosh (before the flood).

These angels came down with pure intentions, but their involvement in the physical world corrupted them so much so that they were involved in the beginnings of idol worship. Hence they are called Nefilim, fallen angels.

When the flood came and killed all the people, the children of the Nefilim survived.

The spies felt, that involvement in the physical, would take the Jewish people away from their spiritual focus. They would be better off staying in the desert, where they were free of all material pursuits and the difficulties of making a living. In the desert, all their needs were taken care of, and they were free to bask in spirituality. Entering the land meant having to work the land for food, the need to make a living, and other physical needs that will take them away from their spiritual focus.

This is what the spies meant with their argument, "we saw the Nefilim..." If these great angels, with pure intentions, fell so low, then we, who are like grasshoppers compared to them, don't stand a chance.

And if Hashem didn't destroy them with the flood, perhaps "some how" He won't be able to destroy them now. Even though this argument is foolish, it was enough to cast doubt.

The answer to this came from Joshua and Caleb. "If Hashem desires us, He will take us to this land... Hashem is with us, don't fear them."

First of all, we are different than these angels, because Hashem wants us. He wants us in the land, in the physical and it is there, where we are meant to accomplish our purpose.

Secondly, we are greater than angels, because Hashem is with us. Unlike angels, we have a Neshama, a Godly soul, that is actually a part of Hashem. While angels are spiritual beings, we are Godly beings, with the ability to fuse the physical world with spirituality and Godliness. We don't have to fear entering the mundane, physical world, we need to embrace it and uplift it to holiness. This is what Hashem created us for, we can do what no angel can, because we are greater than angels.

We need to recognize our abilities, and that we are special. This in itself gives us the strength to overcome so much, and fills us with a sense of obligation to the world. To keep to a higher standard, and to be Hashem's ambassadors to the world. To bring out the Godly essence of the world and uplift the world.

May we witness our accomplishments soon, with the coming of Moshiach.


  1. Very well explained. I was just learning this and I finally got it after reading this. Thank you. You have a way of going to the heart of the matter very clearly. יישר כח

  2. Thanks for the insight. Well explained. Thanks to you dvar Torah I feel braver now to confront my fears...knowing that the fear is just an illusion that covers the success that I will surely see iyH

  3. This was very interesting to read.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight.
    All the best to you.
    I pray for you and your family, often.
    G-d is with us, especially in the storms of life.
    Stay strong. You are loved.