In the portion of Shelach, we read about the spies, who toured the Promised Land and gave a twisted report aimed at getting the Israelites to doubt that Moses—or for that matter, G‑d—would be able to conquer the land.

One of the arguments they used was, “And there we saw the nefilim . . . children of the giant . . . and we were as grasshoppers . . . ”

Who were these nefilim? Why would they spies even consider that they would be too powerful for G‑d to conquer, especially after all the miracles they witnessed?

Rashi explains that the nefilim are the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, two angels that assumed material form and descended to earth in the days of Enosh, in the generations before the flood.

They came down with pure intentions, but their involvement in the physical world corrupted them so much so that they were involved in the beginnings of idol worship. Hence, they are called nefilim, “fallen.”

When the flood came and killed all the people, the children of the nefilim survived.

The spies felt that involvement in the physical would take the Jewish people away from their spiritual focus. They would be better off staying in the desert, where they were free of all material pursuits and the difficulties of making a living. In the desert, all their needs were taken care of, and they were free to bask in spirituality. Entering the land meant having to work the land for food; it meant the need to make a living and achieve other physical requirements that would take them away from their spiritual pursuits.

This is what the spies meant with their argument, “we saw the nefilim!” If these great angels, with pure intentions, fell so low, then we, who are like grasshoppers compared to them, don’t stand a chance.

(They were also afraid that if G‑d didn’t destroy them with the flood, then perhaps He won’t be able to destroy them now. Even though this argument is foolish, it was enough to cast doubt.)

The answer to this came from Joshua and Caleb: “If G‑d desires us, He will take us to this land . . . G‑d is with us; don’t fear them.”

First of all, we are different than these angels because G‑d wants us. He wants us in the land, submerged in in the physical. It is there where we are meant to accomplish our purpose.

Secondly, we are greater than angels because G‑d is with us. Unlike angels, we have a human neshamah, a G‑dly soul that is actually a part of Him. While angels are spiritual beings, we are G‑dly beings, with the ability to fuse the physical world with spirituality and G‑dliness. We don’t have to fear entering the mundane physical world. We need to embrace it and uplift it to holiness. This is why G‑d created us. We can do what no angel can because we are greater than them.

We need to recognize our abilities, and the fact that we are special. This in itself gives us the strength to overcome so much and fills us with a sense of obligation to the world—to keep to higher standard, and to be G‑d’s ambassadors to the world. To bring out the G‑dly essence of the world and uplift it.

May we witness our accomplishments soon, with the coming of Moshiach.