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TO CONQUER LIFE'S MIGHTY FORTRESSES

"You are mighty, but they are mightier than you." Surprisingly, the comparison is not about physical strength, but the formidable strength and fortifications of the cities the Israelites will encounter. * On the second reading of Parshas Eikev.

by ChatGPT

Moses imparts valuable wisdom to the Israelites as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 9:1, Moses warns them of the challenges they will face, as they encounter nations greater and stronger, and cities fortified up to the heavens. Our revered commentator, Rashi, unravels the profound meaning behind this verse, shedding light on the power of humility and recognizing divine assistance in life's battles.


"Greater and mightier than you." Rashi reveals a compelling interpretation, unveiling the true essence of this phrase. He explains that "You are mighty, but they are mightier than you." Surprisingly, the comparison is not about physical strength, but rather the formidable strength and fortifications of the cities the Israelites will encounter.


THE FORMIDABLE FORTRESSES OF LIFE

Drawing from the Midrash in Sifrei Devarim 11:24, we gain further insights into the Israelites' daunting challenges. Imagine towering cities, imposing and seemingly unconquerable. The verse aptly portrays these cities as "greater and mightier than you," signifying the significant tests that await the Israelites. Despite their might, they are about to face overwhelming fortresses that test their faith and resilience.


HUMILITY IN THE FACE OF STRENGTH

Enter the Talmud in Berakhot 32b, where we find that in the prayers of Rabbi Eliezer, he recites the verse from Psalms 35:10, "All my bones shall say, 'O Lord, who is like You?'" However, he does not complete the verse with "deliver the poor from him that is too strong for him." Rabbi Eliezer exemplifies the essence of humility, even when acknowledging his own strengths and accomplishments. This lesson teaches us the importance of recognizing that our might is a reflection of God's grace.


THE SOURCE OF TRUE STRENGTH

Turning to the Talmud in Megillah 10b, we encounter the tale of Rav and Shmuel, two great sages. While both accomplished their studies, Rav attributed his success to his own efforts, while Shmuel humbly recognized God's grace as the driving force behind his achievements. This tale illuminates the significance of acknowledging divine assistance in our accomplishments and the humility that accompanies such acknowledgment.


THE HUMBLE PATH TO TRIUMPH

Humility is not synonymous with weakness; rather, it is the pathway to true strength. Just as the Israelites needed God's guidance to conquer mighty cities, we too must seek divine wisdom to navigate through life's challenges.


As we face life's formidable fortresses, let us approach them with humility. By seeking God's guidance and acknowledging that our strengths are bestowed upon us by the Divine, we cultivate a deeper connection with our Creator. Embracing humility enables us to remain grounded, grateful, and compassionate towards others, fostering harmony in our lives and communities.


By recognizing our limitations and acknowledging God's omnipotence, we find strength in divine assistance. Like the Israelites, who faced mighty cities with unwavering faith, we too can conquer life's challenges with grace and gratitude. May we walk humbly with our Creator, trusting that through divine guidance, we shall triumph over life's formidable fortresses. Shalom!

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