(כי תאמר בלבבך רבים הגוים האלה ממני איכה אוכל להורישם. לא תירא מהם (ז, י”ז-י”ח)
Perhaps you will say in your heart ‘these nations are more numerous than me, how will I be able to drive them out?’. Do not fear them. (Deuteronomy
The Talmud in Gittin (90a) tells us that the word ‘ki’ at the beginning of the verse has four possible meanings – ‘rather’, ‘because’, ‘if/when’ and ‘perhaps’. My translation follows the opinion of Rashi, who explains that the verse is reassuring those who are scared of the enemy’s military superiority that Hashem will help the Jews to be victorious. Rashi actually states that none of the other four translations would fit into the context.
The Shelah has different take. In his view, ‘ki’ could mean ‘if’ in this context. He explains that the Torah is giving us the recipe for victory. If you will have the honesty and humility to admit that you are incapable, that these nations are more numerous than us’, then ‘do not be afraid of them’. Our downfall only starts when we start to believe in ourselves too much, forgetting about God’s involvement.
In our busy world, we tend to fall into the trap of believing that all we achieve in our lifetime is due solely to our efforts and talents. And while we are expected to pull our weight in here in the physical world, that in and of itself is useless. The main ‘key’ (excuse the pun) is our total recognition that our ultimate success comes from Above and has nothing to do with us.
(adapted from Sefer Talelei Oros)