This week’s portion, Eikev, begins, “It will be because (eikev) you will heed.” It continues with the numerous blessings that G-d will bestow upon us when we listen to his desires. “Eikev” is an unusual word, especially here. What do we learn from the word “eikev”?
Eikev can also mean “heel” and Rashi explains that eikev refers to: “minor commandments which one [usually] tramples with his heels.” Rashi’s source is the Midrash, which clarifies “minor mitzvot that people aren’t careful with, but cast them under their heels.”
By saying that he “casts them under the heels,” the Midrash seems to describe a person who doesn’t ignore these mitzvot entirely, but pushes them off to the heel, i.e. to the very end.
He has an explanation as well: “First I have to make sure that the head is in order – the main mitzvot. Then come the less critical mitzvot, and only after that can I do the “heel,” the minor mitzvot.”
While this approach sounds logical, the Midrash tells us the blessings in our portion come from keeping the “heel” mitzvot. How do we understand that these mitzvot are super important, but at the same time seen as minor, or less important?
There are two ways to approach mitzvot. You can come from a position of understanding. In this approach, there is an order to doing the mitzvot. Then there is the position of doing what G-d wants, doing the mitzvot because G-d commanded us and because when you do a mitzva, you are connecting to the essence of G-d.
The evil inclination is clever and always comes up with a strategy. He tells you to do everything, but use your intellect, and follow the order of things. But that is because he is the evil inclination, and he doesn’t want you to connect with G-d’s essence.
So, the parsha and the Midrash are telling you, that you should keep the heel mitzvas, as you would keep the head mitzvas, for at the essence they are all the same. And this is why we receive the blessings if we take this approach. Because when we serve Hashem from our understanding, measured and calculated, then He grants our needs in a measured and calculated way, which is not what we want. However, when we serve G-d beyond our understanding, when we accept the yoke of Heaven and do the mitzvahs because it is His will and because we want to connect with Him, then he gives us uncalculated blessings, infinite and beyond understanding.
How do you balance between beyond understanding and order? Beyond understanding doesn’t have to mean chaos, rather, when you have an opportunity to do a mitzvah, don’t start to make calculations. It is all Hashem’s will, so do it with your whole heart. We also should not convince ourselves of doing things that Hashem doesn’t want, under some logical pretext, to have a personal gain. Hashem’s will should be our goal and what we strive for.
If we act with belief and faith in G-d, the way he wants us to, He will surely bestow His infinite blessings upon us, and He will give us the ultimate blessing that we long and hope for, the coming of Moshiach NOW!!!