By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER
The pessimistic report of the Israelite spies who, at Moses’ behest, surveilled the Promised Land included a lament about its allegedly formidable inhabitants (Numbers 13:33): “We felt like chagavim, like mere grasshoppers in comparison!” Notwithstanding our diminutive numbers, perceiving ourselves as insignificant, powerless bugs can be a destructive, self-fulfilling prophecy! The truth of the matter is, our Israelite ancestors were poised to make a real difference and transform history… as can we!
Furthermore, grasshoppers actually have some admirable qualities… which the Jewish People share in abundance!
Grasshoppers are prodigious jumpers… capable of taking astounding leaps forward in achieving goals and securing their future.
Grasshoppers existed before dinosaurs, developing during the Carboniferous Period. They are blessed with a long, proud history! They are here to stay.
“Grasshoppers” is just another name for locusts… against which even the most aggressive and hostile of detractors are ultimately defenseless. Grasshoppers are small as individuals, but unstoppable when they work together… even when the forces arrayed against them appear oversized.
Over 20,000 species of grasshoppers have been identified. The Jewish community, famous for our variety of individual opinions and religious approaches, is similarly blessed by our diversity.
The problem is not that we view ourselves as grasshoppers. The problem is… We ignore the profound potential that grasshoppers have to offer!
(Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser is the rabbi of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey and the National Chaplain of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.)