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Heels of Moshiach

The name for Parashat Eikev (Deut. 7:12–11:25) is translated as “because” but eikev can mean “at last” or “finally” and more importantly it can mean “heel”. Moses encourages Israel regarding the rewards of living lives in which they fully,”…heed these ordinances and faithfully observe all mitzvoth with equal zeal (even those seemingly minor mitzvoth often trampled under the heel)”.

In this parsha, Moses continually reminds the nation of the bounty and goodness flowing throughout eretz Israel, something that can only be realized by physically trodding the ground of Israel, continually blessed with the bounty of the 7 species of produce listed in this parsha. Each of these, Wheat, Barley, Olives, Pomegranates, Grapes, Dates and Figs flourishes in a very specific regions of Israel.

In the Talmud we learn that Eikev can be a reference to the Heels of Moshiach, a time when the generation of that era will be which can be likened to the heel of the foot: coarse and insensitive.

In Israel's spiritual and historical connection to the land, we can see that when Israel faithfully observes all the mitzvoth, they will not be expelled from it. Not only that, HaShem will broaden Israel's borders: "Every place upon which the soles of your feet will tread, will be yours..."

Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman tells us in his book, Seventy Faces, tells us that:

"G'd's attention is directed first and foremost at the Land of Israel and through this all other lands are included. This interpretation stresses that not only is the Land of Israel special but also that what occurs in the Land has a profound impact on the entire world."

The word eikev takes us back to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Gan Eden when HaShem tells the serpent, in Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers. They shall strike your head and you shall strike their heel (eikev).” It's a prophetic model for Israel faithfully keeping mitzvoth so as not to be expelled from the land. The enmity between the woman and the serpent may be an allusion to the women of Israel resisting the Sin of the Golden calf, the error of Korach and the Sin of the Spies.

Finally, add the letter “yud” to eikev and you have Jacob whose offspring will crush, the head of the serpent, at last, and at the heel of history (end of days) lead us back to the Garden.

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