INSIGHT: What Words Mean “Because” It Is Important

All the Mitzvos

All the Mitzvos

Moshe turned to his people, took a deep breath and continued his speech: “EikevBecause you will keep all the Mitzvos of the Torah – even the small ones that you might treat lightly and trample with your heels – HaShem will bless you in abundance!”

Imagine the President asks you to do something for him, even a small task – such as bringing him (or her) a cup of water – wouldn’t you rush to do it… and consider it a privilege?

How much more so, if we are asked by the King of kings to do His Mitzvos… What a great honor!

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Shazak insight

What Words Mean (No. Not That Kind of “Mean”!)

Harry Homonymivitch (or H.H. for short) got stuck in a traffic jam after eating some crackers with plenty of jam. “Oh no!” he cried out. I think I left my phone near the left corner of the baseball field.” Quickly, he made a U-turn and decided to park his car near the park. “I found my phone! Great!” H.H. decided to stay and watch the baseball game. It was so hot that the baseball pitcher drank a whole pitcher of water!

Notice something unusual? The story is filled with words that look and sound the same but have different meanings. They are called homonyms.

There are also Hebrew homonyms, as in, Shalom – Hello; Shalom – Goodbye; Shalom – Peace.

Eikev is a homonym. It has two meanings: “because” and “heel.” But unlike most homonyms – where one meaning fits and the other doesn’t – regarding Eikev, both meanings make perfect cents… I mean sense.

Bottom line? There is a lot more to Torah than what meets the eye. In fact, our great Sages tell us, Shivim Panim LaTorah – there are not only one, two, or three “faces” (facets or explanations) to the Torah – but 70! “Facet”nating!

Shazak insight

“Because” It Is Important

“Because.” There is no way getting around using this word. (Why? Because!) Now check this out: In Hebrew, the normal word used is “Ki” (כי) and it appears almost 1,000 times in the Chumash. Compare this to the word “Eikev,” which also means “because,” but appears no more than five times in the Chumash.

Point of interest: Of the five times Eikev is used, four of those describe a cause for a reward for doing Mitzvos and one time a cause for a punishment.

Here’s the list:

  1.   The first time is in Parshas VaYeira, after Avraham passed the tenth and final test, called the Akeidah, HaShem promises, “I will give you many children and give them this land… Eikev – because Avraham listened to my voice…”
  2.   In Parshas Toldos, HaShem promises Yitzchak that there is a reward in store for him, just like he promised his faithful father, Avraham, “Eikevbecause Avraham listened to my voice…”

BTW: For how many years did “Avraham listen to HaShem’ voice?”

Simple. Add up Eikev (עקב) and you get 172 (ע=70 ק=100 ב=2). Avraham, who began serving HaShem at the age of 3 and lived until the ripe old age of 175, kept Mitzvos for Eikev – עקב – 172 years!

  1.   In the Spies Episode back in Parshas Shlach, HaShem rewards Kaleiv for not being influenced by the evil spies; “Eikevbecause he was faithful to me…” Kaleiv was rewarded with a special portion of land in Eretz Yisrael, the city of Chevron (Hebron).
  2.   Here at the beginning of Parshas Eikev – “Eikevbecause you will keep all the Mitzvos of the Torah and HaShem will bless you.”
  3.   Also, here in Parshas Eikev, we see the “flip side,” – “You will be punished, Eikevbecause you did not listen to the voice of HaShem.”

Indeed, Eikev and Mitzvos go hand in hand. It’s no coincidence that there are Eikev words (עקב=172) in the Ten Commandments of Parshas Yisro! Count them… exactly 172 words!

SHAZAK
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