RAV BRAZIL PARSHAS AIKEV תשעו THE HEALING HEEL והיה עקב תשמעון. The word aikev means heel which is the lowest part of the human being. Even in the English language when one wants to describe a state in which he feels so debased and low, he expresses it with this term, I feel like a heel. However, the feeling of lowness also has its positive qualities. Sometimes one must hit rock bottom and only then the return and ascent is made possible. This is hinted in the different spelling of the same word “heal” which means to repair. When one wants to throw an object high in the air, the more he lowers his hand in the wind up swing upwards, the higher the object rises. If one is able to take control of his life at the time he feels like a heel, he will be able to accomplish an incredible healing to himself and to others. The lashon Hakodesh of היל means light. In the darkness itself lies the light waiting to be released.
Let us take this thought a step deeper. Chazal name the period of history that we are presently living inעקבתא דמשיחא the footsteps of Moshiach. However, it also means the heels during the time of Moshiach. Our seforim tell us that all the Jewish souls throughout the six thousand years of creation were positioned in different parts of Adam Harishon’s body. In each generation there is a distribution of the neshamos. The generation of Moshiach possesses the lowest of all the neshamos that there ever was. These neshamos emanate from the heels of Adam Harishon which are the lowest part of his body. This is why our period that we are living in is called the Heels of Moshiach alluding to this truth that the souls that will greet Moshiach are those that stem from the heels.
Chazal tell us that one of the reasons that the burial ground of Adam and the Avos was named Meoras Hamachpailah is because when burying Adam Harishon they found it impossible to fit him inside the cave since his stature was too large. With no choice they had to fold and double over his body. The Skolya Rebbe remarked on this Chazal a very fascinating thought. If Adam Harishon’s body was folded then his head was touching the soles of his feet. Do you hear this incredible thought? WOW! True that the souls contained in Adam’s heels were from the lowest levels, yet they came in contact with the highest of the highs with the neshamos contained in his head. What does this mean for us in תשע”ו?
The Ari Hakadosh told his talmid Rav Chaim Vital that the avodah of a Yid in their generation can be higher that many previous generations. The reason being that avodah is measured according to the intensity of the difficulty and oppositional force involved. The darkness deepens the farther one departs from the revelation of the giving of Torah at Har Sinai. Hashem takes this all into consideration when valuing the spiritual stature of each individual depending during which generation and period of time he is living. It could very well be that the yeshivah bachur who toils to understand the explanation of the Pnei Yehoshuah in the year תשעו is greater than the author of the very same safer. Therefore in our generation of Moshiach’s coming our sincere avodah can equal or even surpass the avodah of previous generations when the light of truth was more radiant.
The head of Adam touching his heels is symbolic of this concept. If one can muster up the strength and in a very deep way remain faithful, loyal, and pure to Torah and mitzvos even amidst the tsunami of perverted decadence of the present culture, he will be rated by Hashem as an equal to the avodah of those neshamos who stem from the head of Adam Harishon. After all what makes Hashem happy? Chazal tell us that it is the struggle. The harder the struggle, the happier Hashem and the person are. Rav Hutner ztl explained the Chazal of לפום צערא אגרא that according to the pain and discomfort one is willing to undergo in order to fulfill the mitzvah or learn Torah, is the “agrah” the price of the mitzvah. For instance if one is willing to miss davening or part of it because he is in the middle of smoking a cigarette and he doesn’t want to stop, then he himself determined that the price of davening with a minyan is worth one cigarette. Our generation, in which any way one turns, is faced with horrific nisyonos. To succeed in any type of ruchniyus one must gird himself with an extraordinary sacrifice 24/7 to control his senses not to let them fall prey to Satan and all his cohorts. Today, the sacrificial price that one sets on his avodah is way off the charts. I heard Rav Yosef Eichenstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Edison once relate a remarkable story between his zaidah the Zidichover Rebbe and the Brisker Rav ztl. The Rebbe while speaking to the Brisker Rav told him that even though our generation possesses the lowest souls of Adam Harishon those of the heel, one cannot deny the fact that the entire body stands and is supported upon the heels. Upon hearing this insight the Brisker Rav started running backwards and frontwards with such simcah repeating over and over again “the entire body stands on the heels”. This parallels our Chazal who say that our lowly souls of the heels can reach the souls of the head and can therefore bring healing and repair to all the previous generations and bring the Moshiach. This perspective of Heel Neshamos is not only to be understood on a national plane but also within a personal frame. When one sinks down to a low madraigah and he decides to mend and change his ways with teshuvah he is immediately confronted and attacked by his yetzer harah and sometimes his friends, who verbally prosecute and belittle him by saying such degrading abuse such as, up until now you were a bum and all of a sudden you want to be a frummie. Hashem has already rejected you so you might as well have a good time. You don’t really mean it anyway you just want to look good in everybody else’s eyes. Such negative attacks are for the purpose of weakening one’s resolve to do teshuvah, to commit anew to a life of Torah and mitzvos, and to remove the energization of hope and tikkun in one’s forging a restored relationship with Hashem. It is the Torah which addresses these false claims and rejects them as pure nonsense and lies. והיו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על לבבך. The Chiddushei Harim asks should it not have been more proper to say בלבבך in your heart and not on your heart which implies superficiality? He answers that even though one’s recital of Shemah might be superficial at the present time, he should nevertheless not stop fulfilling the mitzvah. Let it be even if it is a performance of על לבבך. However, if one has the promise that as long as he continues to place them all on his heart, one day they will pile up into such a heavy heap that they will break the heart’s foreskin and all the mitzvos will suddenly fall into place thereby creating an explosive giant light. Hashem loves the mitzvos that are fulfilled through the challenges when one doesn’t really want to do them because he feels like a heel and “out of it”. If one nevertheless defeats his ‘heel feelings” then he will merit to bring a huge healing and light into the world. This is what our beginning passuk of the parsha hints to. Chazal say that the termוהיה connotes simcha in contrast to ויהי. One brings simcah to Hashem והיה אותיות יהו’)) and to himself when he fulfills the mitzvos both in a historic period of עקב such as the time we are living in or during a personal time of feeling like a heel. On Shabbos one can feel his chashivus since he receives the Neshamah Yesairah. It is then that the individual who works on Kedushas Shabbos will be feel that although during the week his being was that of a heel, now on Shabbos he is connected to his head the place in which the neshamah resides. A hinting to this is the gematriah of עקב לראש heel to the head which equals שבת (with the word). Therefore, Shabbos is a time of geulah and the bringing of Moshiach. Let us help make it all happen. Gut Shabbos, Rav Shmuel Brazil