In this week’s Torah portion Shelach Lecha Moses sends forth scouts to search out the Promised Land and bring back a report. They return and say it is a good and bountiful land, but they fear that they will be unable to conquer and possess it.
“We saw giants there — the Anakites are like giants — and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them” (Num. 13:33).
But here is the question: The spies know how they look to themselves, small and weak, but how do they know what the looked like to the people of the land?
The rabbis struggle with that until one comes upon this verse from Proverbs 27:19 — “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of a person reflects the person.” And The mystical Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508–1593) observes: “Because the hearts are as mirrors.”
How we see others is a reflection not so much of them, but of ourselves. When we view another human being as somehow “other,” somehow less than the image of God which is found within us all, it diminishes that spark of the Divine not in them but in ourselves.
We are all the children of the living God, when we see that reflection of God in everyone we meet we truly become a holy people and a light unto the nations of the world.