Inherit the Land My Son

To my dear son,

The Torah uses the word “Ekev – heel” to introduce the brachot and reward which Am Yisrael will ‎receive if they “hearken and follow the ordinances” of Hashem; this usage is peculiar.‎

One can explain the word literally; committing to the mitzvoth begins with “Ekev – the heel”, as it ‎requires picking up one’s heel and moving one’s legs in order to perform the mitzvoth themselves.
‎ ‎
The Kotzker Rebbe refers to the end of the verse which says,‎
‎“…Hashem, your God, will safeguard for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your ‎forefathers”. This “covenant” is the assurance Hashem gave to our forefathers that their ‎descendants, Am Yisrael, would inherit Eretz Yisrael. Therefore the entire context of the beginning ‎of the Parsha refers to one specific mitzvah, the mitzvah of inheriting and settling the land of Israel.

‎“Ekev” – to walk and patrol the land of Israel for the sake of inheriting and conquering it ‎undoubtedly poses many challenges as we have witnessed in our past and continue to experience ‎today, as you have learned to appreciate during your service in TZAHAL. Yet if we “hearken and ‎follow the ordinances” of Hashem, we will succeed in our endeavor and be privy to the greatest ‎reward of all; to secure and settle our land. ‎

While I will miss you over Shabbat, it is comforting to know that you have embraced the mission of ‎‎“Ekev”. While your service in the army may obstruct you from fulfilling Shabbat in its full halachic ‎context, remember that during all of your patrols, while you are guarding and running to secure a ‎post, you consistently fulfill with your “Ekev” the essential mitzvah of ensuring that all of the ‎Jewish people can walk in the land of our ancestors. ‎

Shabbat Shalom ‎
With love and admiration ‎
Abba ‎

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