“If you shall say in your heart: ‘These nations are more than I; how can I drive them out?’ you shall not be afraid of them; you shall well remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh, and to all Egypt… so shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.” (Deuteronomy 7:17-19)
According to its plain meaning, this passage serves to reassure Israel that despite their fears, with the help of God, they will triumph over their enemies, though the enemy appears superior.
The text conveys this meaning because the translation has rendered the Hebrew word “ki” to mean “if.” While not inaccurate, a more direct translation of the word “ki” would render “because.” With that slight change, the passage takes on an entirely new and profound meaning.
“Because you shall say in your heart: ‘These nations are more than I; how can I drive them out?’ you shall not be afraid of them…”
So long as we acknowledge that we do not have the power to defeat our enemies, then we need not fear. Why not? Because by acknowledging that the power belongs not to us, we understand that only God Himself wields the power to overthrow nations, or indeed, to make anything happen at all. So long as we put our faith in God and not in man, we join God to our side, before Whom none can stand. Then we need not fear our enemies, for God shall defeat them before us.
May we merit to recognize the ultimate power of God, and through trust in Him, achieve all our ambitions for good.
Based on Shla”h, Parshas Ekev
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(Image from zastavki.com)