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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 3, 2007 / 19 Menachem-Av 5767

He who controls the ‘heel’ controls the fate and destiny of mankind

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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Be careful what you step on. It eventually rises up to bite back


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The word eikev, which is the name of this week's Torah reading, and is translated as "since" or "because", is associated with another Hebrew word, akeiv, meaning "heel." Rashi, the foremost commentator, already comments that this association indicates the Torah's warning against treating any of the mitzvos (religious duties) lightly, stepping upon them with one's heel in disdain, so to speak.


The word akeiv in the sense of "heel" previously appears in the Torah regarding the birth of Esau and Jacob. There the Torah records that when the twins were born, Jacob grasped the heel of Esau as they emerged into the world. The symbolism there once again conforms to the idea that Rashi conveys to us in this week's Torah reading. Esau steps on things with his heel. He destroys people and civilizations, holiness and lofty spirituality, by denigrating them, treating them as being insignificant and inconsequential, grinding them into nothingness with his heel.


Jacob's -- Jewry's -- task in life is to hold unto Esau's heel, preventing him by his efforts from accomplishing that destructive goal. Apparently, he who controls the "heel" controls the fate and destiny of humankind. This is also the implicit message of this week's Torah reading — that listening to G-d's word and not treating it with scorn or indifference is the key to maintaining a more human and peaceful society. Stepping on any of the values of Torah, no matter what the seeming ideological justifications for such behavior at that time, leads to untold societal and personal harm. Be careful what one steps upon. It eventually rises up to bite back in return.


This week's Torah reading deals with the basic idea of Judaism, that of cause and effect. There are no acts of life that remain truly insignificant. Small things sometimes later assume almost cosmic importance. For the want of a nail, a kingdom can be lost. The sages in Ethics of the Fathers warned that one should not measure the value or significance of mitzvos. The "light" duty may be of vast importance not only because of the unknown systems of G-d's rewards, but also because the "light" mitzvah may also have heavy consequences of cause and effect. This is in line with the further idea expressed in Ethics of the Fathers that one mitzvah leads to the accomplishment of another mitzvah thereafter. The consequences of a mitzvahare inevitably good while the consequences of trampling upon a mitzvah — again, no matter what the ideological justification may be — inevitably are detrimental to the individual and to society.


The entire book of Deuteronomy pleads for Jews to see the big picture, the vision of a just and caring society. In order for such a vision to take on the flesh of reality, the small things in society must be accounted for favorably. We all like to talk about the big things in our world — peace, security, democracy, etc. — but as long as we continue to step with our heels on the small things — courtesy and compassion to others, respect for our traditions and Torah, and a sense of satisfaction with our lives — little progress towards the accomplishment of the great goals will take place. So, let us all step carefully in life.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein --- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com Comment by clicking here.


© 2006, Rabbi Berel Wein