Yaacov Avinu's Rightful Place in the World

Dr. Joseph Frager,

צילום: קובי גדעון, לע''מ

Sefer Devarim is devoted to and focused on Eretz Yisrael. As I have stated previously Sefer Devarim is Moshe's Testimnony from G-d Almighty to and about Bnei Yisrael's future in the "Land of Milk and Honey".

The immediate question that arises in Parshat Eikev is why the use of the unusual word "Eikev" at all. Rashi right away addresses this question and says it relates to hearkening to even "the lighter Mitzvot which a person sometimes treads upon with his heels ("Baakeivav").

He must observe and fulfill even these. It seems to me that the use of the word "Eikev" may be a reference to Yaacov Avinu whose love of Eretz Yisrael was boundless.Others relate the word "Eikev" to Rabbi Akiva. It seems most approriate to relate the use of the word "Eikev" to Yaacov since it is the word that G-d Almighty used when Yaacov was named ("After that his Brother emerged with his hand grasping onto the heel ("Baakeiv") of Esau so he called his name Yaacov").

The Alshich in Parshat Toldot comments on the name of Yaacov as referring to the future since it is in the future tense (Atid). In the future Yaacov will rise to his rightful place in the world as the World's Leader. Similarly, in Parshat Eikev the future tense is used as well ("In the future as a consequence of your heeding these Laws-"ViHayah Eikev Tishmiun et Hamispatim HaEileh").Although Esau runs the world now Yaacov will overtake him eventually and assume the leadership role G-d designed for him when he was brought into the world.

We are all catching a glimpse of this even now as President Obama lowers America's Standing in the world and Israel becomes more and more the spokesman for sanity and Leadership. This is most evident as the 159 pages of the Iranian make believe deal get analyzed. Even Saudi Arabia acknowledges that Israel is now the leader of the Free World (at least on this subject). Even the Haftorah of Parshat VaEtchanan (Isaiah 40) (pointed out to me by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Leib Grossman) makes reference to this change in status from the "Heel Position" to the Leader of the world ("VeHayah Hehakov Lemishor"-"the crooked will become straight").

The Vilna Gaon on the meaning of "Chevel Nahalatchem" (Divrei Hayamim 16:8-36) found in the following: "That he established it for Yaacov as a statute, for Israel as an everlasting covenant saying, To you I shall give the land Canaan, the Lot of your Heritage" implies that G-d Almighty gave Eretz Yisrael to Avraham Avinuu and to his son Yitzchok, the Har HaBayit to Yitzchok, and the Beit Hamikdash to Yaacov. Yaacov is the culmination of Avraham and Yitzchok.

The Land of Israel belongs to Bnei Yisrael eternally. This is absolutely perfectly clear as is indicated in these passages. Moshe Rabeinu by using the term "Eikev" in Parshat Eikev is referencing Yaacov Avinu who will lead Bnei Yisrael back to the proper Derech with Tshuva and the performance of Mitzvot so the Beit HaMikdash can be rebuilt speedily in our day.

Shabbat Shalom. This Dvar Torah was inspired and guided along by my beloved Brother and Rebbe Rabbi Dr. Dovid Zvi S'HLITA Ben Mordechai Avraham Frager. He and his family should be forever Blessed.