A Worm Whose Only Power and Strength Lies in its Mouth
“Do not fear, O worm Jacob, O men of Israel! I myself will help you,” declares YHWH. “Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:14).
“Do not fear, O worm Jacob! Why is Israel compared to a worm? Just as a worm strikes the cedars only with its mouth—though soft, it strikes the hard—so Israel possesses only prayer, for the idolatrous nations are compared to cedars” (Tanḥuma, Beshallaḥ 9).
“Come and see: All nations of the world have been rendered to certain ruling archons, as has been said, and they follow their false gods, as is written: [For all the nations] will walk each in the name of its god (Micah 4:5)—all shedding blood, waging war, stealing, robbing, fornicating, mingling with numerous evildoings. They intensify their power to harass, while Israel has no power to overcome them except through its mouth—like a worm whose only power and strength lies in its mouth, by its mouth penetrating all. So Israel is called worm” (Zohar 1:178a).