This weeks Parasha is Parashat Eikev deals with the topic of listening to Hashem and keeping His mitzvot. For it is by listening we merit the Land of Israel. Not only must we listen with our ears. But even our heels need to listen. What?…
This Weeks Parasha In A Nutshell
- The land of Israel and its fruit
- Grace after meals
- Story of the Golden Calf
- Second paragraph of the Shema
Parashat Ekev opens with the strange phrase: (Deut 7:12)
הָיָ֣ה ׀ עֵ֣קֶב תִּשְׁמְע֗וּן אֵ֤ת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֥ם וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם וְשָׁמַר֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ לְךָ֗ אֶֽת־הַבְּרִית֙ וְאֶת־הַחֶ֔סֶד אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לַאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ׃
And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully, the LORD your God will maintain faithfully for you the covenant that He made an oath with your fathers:
The Hebrew word Eikev is translated as “And if”, however the literal translation of the opening words of Parashat Eikev reads, “And behold if your heel will listen to these laws and keep them.” This seems rather strange that the Torah is suggesting that our heels somehow hear.
What Does This Mean?
The great commentator Rashi (1040-1105 France) explains that the Hebrew text may be taken to signify if you will heel will hear, i.e. If, even the lighter commands which a person usually treads on with his heel, that is, with disdain, you will observe, then Hashem will keep His promise to you.
Eikev – The Heel Crushes
We all know that when we wish to crush something we use our heel to get the job done. The Torah is teaching us that we need to be careful that when we keep our mitzvot we should not belittle them and trample on them. What do I mean?
There are times that when we are trying to do a mitzvah. We are so filled with enthusiasm, that in our haste and zeal to fulfill the mitzvah, we end up crushing another mitzvah, one that is just as important but we just are so busy that we fail to take notice of it.
Picture the following scene. A man receives a call. We are one man short for a Minyan can you help, Moishe is saying kaddish. What an opportunity, to help make a minyan and the same time assist your friend Moishe! He jumps in his car and rushs to the shul only to find that there is no parking. What to do?
So he parks in front of a driveway. The minyan won’t take long. I am helping a friend and I will be back before anyone will notice. So he goes to shul. Stays for Mincha and Maariv because he is doing a mitzvah. When he comes out of shul he finds an irate neighbour who cannot get into his driveway!
This is the exact scene that the Torah is warning against. This is stepping on a mitzvah. In this case his zeal to fulfill a mitzvah caused another person to suffer. So the Torah warns us not to step on another in order to fulfill a mitzvah.
Parashat Eikev teaches us that if even our heels are able to listen to the words of the Torah and observe them to promote a more harmonious and caring society, how much more so, should our ears be listening as well?