Minding the Little Things

 
 

Happy Thursday, everyone! Sorry I'm a little late this week. I was in California this week and just got back from celebrating our friends Roxy & Eli's amazing wedding. It was such an awesome simcha and I'm really glad that I was able to be there – but your Torah got delayed this week. So here it is. Torah Thursday this week.

We are in Parshat Eikev, and Parshat Eikev continues to go over the laws and talks abotu the covenant with God and what we have to do to receive the land of milk and honey that was promised to our ancestors. So at the beginning of the parsha, it says, "If you follow these rules and observe them carefully, then God will maintain the covenant that God made with your ancestors." And on this verse, Rashi, the medieval commentator, drashes/extrapolates on the word Eikev, which literally means heel, and its where the Torah portion's name comes from.

And Rashi writes, "If you heed the minor commandments which one usually tramples with their heels," with the heel of your foot, you trample on these things and don't pay them much mind, that is how you get to maintain a covenant wiith God. You don't get to maintain a covenant with God by trampling over tall the little things and only doing the major things. And I think that has a lot to say for us today, not just as Jews but as humans.

How many of us do more on the holidays than the rest of the year? We think of Shabbat as a minor holiday but Rosh Hashanah as a big one and we trample over Shabbat. Or what about holding the door open for other people. That's such a simple thing, such a small act that makes a huge difference in a person's day. That's the first verse I really love.

The second verse I really like is Deuteronomy 8:2: "Remember the long way that Adonai your God has made you travel in the wilderness these past forty years, that God might test you by hardships to learn what was in your hearts." And I love this idea. That we get tested along life's path. That how we act along life's path, and how we grow during that journey, is the important thing. It's not really the destination. The destination will always be there and we'll always be striving for the land of milk and honey. But what about the way we act, the way we grow, the way we learn along life's path.

So I think this week those are two really amazing teachings that we can pull from to use the time we have on our journey to really expand ourselves to learn, to hear stories, to meet people, to better ourselves, and to make sure we are doing the small stuff that enriches our lives: holding the door open for people, maybe keeping some holidays or learning in ways you haven't before. And that is this week's Torah Thursday.

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week, it's Thursday so I can wish you a Shabbat Shalom! And I will see you next week! Bye!

Alex KressComment