August 21st, 2019

The portion of Eikev begins by offering a range of positive consequences for the Jewish nation “because you will heed these ordinances, and keep them and perform them.” But the word used for the conjunction “because” is the rather unusual Hebrew word “eikev”.

The Midrash, quoted by Rashi, explains that “eikev” has a double meaning, as it can also be translated to mean “heel”. According to the Midrash: “if you will listen to even the lighter commands, which a person might tread on with his heels (namely — the kind that most people are inclined to treat lightly) … then God your God will keep for you… His commitment.”

Rabbi Dunner reveals a number of fascinating explanations for this unusual interpretation, putting the inclusion of this quite bizarre allusion into context.

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