Dvar for Vaetchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)
As Moshe prepares the people to enter their own land while surrounded by neighbors that are unfriendly toward them and their values, he warns them not to intermarry, make covenants, or otherwise concede to other nations. He then reminds them that they are unique (7:2-6). Moshe tells the people that it’s not because of our numbers that G-d prefers us, but it is because we are small that we were chosen (7:7). What does our size have to do with covenants and compromises with neighbors?
Daniel Lowenstein (alephbeta.org) suggests that our self-esteem may sometimes be affected by how small of a nation we are, such as was the case when Shechem raped Yakov’s daughter and offered to marry her (Genesis 34). While Yakov was frozen with fear for his survival while considering their proposal, his sons were not afraid to confront a more substantial group. Similarly, as a small nation fighting for its survival amongst our enemies, we must stand proudly for our morals, beliefs, and convictions despite our relatively small size or any other perceived handicap. Having healthy confidence in ourselves and our principles is a crucial element to maintaining control over outside detractors and influences.