The Well-Heeled Israelite
When I taught Ekev to our congregation years ago, I used a visual aid to help them remember an important key to the portion. Every loaf has two heels. I presented a large, fresh loaf of pre-cut challah. I asked who preferred the heel of the loaf? A few hands were raised. I then offered the heels of the loaf to whoever made it to the bimah first. Two quick responders were each rewarded with a heel to munch during the Dvar Torah. Before they went back to their seats, however, I asked each one: "Are you SURE you want the heel?" Since each answered in the affirmative, the reward was theirs.
An excerpt from Creation Gospel Workbook Five Vol. 5
Every whole loaf has two heels. The question for you is...do you want the heel?
Are you SURE you want the heel?
The basic meaning of the Torah portion Ekev, is heel, or what follows. It is the root of Yaakov, or Jacob. In rabbinic commentary, the heel is considered the "dead" part of the body. It daily comes into contact with the dust, the mortal aspect of a human being. According to the extra-Biblical literature, the Apostle James was so accustomed to praying long, kneeling prayers, his knees became calloused like a camel's, making them as rough as his feet! Even this "dead" part of the body that becomes callous from bearing and moving weight can be beautiful, though. When those feet bear the Good News, they are lovely and alive, yielding their great strength to the message of repentance and life in the tested Word.
Bamidbar (the Book of Numbers/"in the wilderness") precedes Devarim (Deuteronomy/"Words or Things"), demonstrating three temptations experienced by Israel in the wilderness: bread, spiritual authority, and idolatry. Yeshua deals with all three of the same wilderness tests with truth, which he derived from "It is written..." He did not derive truth from "I feel hungry," "I feel disrespected and unappreciated," or "I feel like it's not really a compromise."
Yeshua's Bamidbar (wilderness) experience produced an incredible number of quotes from Devarim in the Gospels. The reality was that Yeshua was a physical being. He felt hungry. He was disrespected and unappreciated, and it was tempting to compromise. Nevertheless, Yeshua did not react to his Bamidbar wilderness according to the fallen earthly reality, but according to the reality and truth in Heaven as taught by the Father in His Word. Truth is based on "It is written...", not "I feel..."
The basic meaning of ekev is heel, or what follows; sometimes it means a reward. It is the root of Yaakov, or Jacob. It also represents the nefesh, or soul, which is a bundle of appetites, emotions, desires, and even intellect. Yaakov (Jacob) was born holding onto Esau's heel. As a prophetic pointer, Yaakov is the one who follows, but he is pointing to the key part of Esau's anatomy, the heel. Esau will be a man characterized by his appetites, not just his red, hairy appearance. Indeed, his appetites are for that "red stuff." The head, however, represents the spirit, the ruach.
Human beings are extremely vulnerable at their "heels," i.e, their appetites, emotions, desires, and intellect. A person without spiritual vision is often the one who follows the direction of the heels instead of the other way around. The heel is to a human like a tail is to an animal, but Israel was promised they would be the head and not the tail! A holy people should not be the tail wagging the dog, but full of the Spirit bringing rewards from Heaven.
Ideally, the "Jacob" twin inside each person directs the Esau twin, which is how the redeemed firstborn should function in a believer. Even Paul hints to this when he writes that the physical is revealed first, and then the spiritual.
It is the spiritual, however, that should direct the steps of the heels. Although the heel is the visible physical, the spiritual can direct it. When this occurs, then the "reward" is that the heel follows the spirit. Although unseen, the spirit is revealed later to be the head of the body when a disciple walks in the fullness of the Spirit that rested on Messiah Yeshua in his walk through the Bamidbar to Devarim.
So do you feel what is real, or can you feel from what is truth? It is written...
LIVE IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE?
We'll be in Lebanon, Tennessee, September 10th:
New Life Hebraic Assembly
Meeting location: Immanuel Baptist Church
214 Castle Heights Ave
Lebanon, TN 37087
3:00 and 4:30pm
Services will be followed by oneg. No refrigerators, so please bring your food in crock-pots.
LaMalah Children's Centre
Thanks so much to our donors for helping the orphanage monthly. Love, joy, and peace to the needy are fruit that no doctrine can refute and "against such there is no law." If you would like to send clothes or children's books, the postage to Kenya is around $33 per 3-pound package, but if you are able to send a parcel, please email us for the mailing address. Click on any of the following LaMalah Children's Centre images to be taken directly to our Donation page.
MONDAY NIGHT TORAH PORTION CLASS
We will be starting an online (live) Torah portion study class after Sukkot on the Webex platform. The time will be each Monday 9:00-10:00 pm EST. If this interests you, keep some room on your calendar. More details will follow soon.