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Dynamite comes in small packages

  • ParsahRabbiBloch
We are all familiar with the overused cliché about the power of what one small deed can achieve. Paradoxically, because this cliché is so overused, one can become desensitised as to the true power and infinite value of a so-called “trivial and minor deed”.
by Rabbi Shmuel Bloch | Aug 10, 2017

Thus, the question needs to be asked: Does a regular person’s deeds which are small in scale and are known to very few, have any real lasting impact, or is it only enormous and immense activities by famous people that transform our world?

In the first verse of this week’s parsha, Moses speaks to the Jewish People, inspiring them to greater levels of faith and trust in Hashem. He elaborates on the bountiful blessings that will accrue to them if they follow this path.

“And it will be because of your listening to these ordinances, and your observing and performing them; then Hashem your G-d will safeguard for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your forefathers” (Devarim Chapter 7 verse 12).

The second word in this particular verse is “Eikev”. Many commentaries point out that we would have expected the verse to say: “And it will be if you listen to these ordinances... (“im” in Hebrew).

Nevertheless, Rashi explains according to the Midrash that the word “Eikev” is used instead of “im” to teach us a deep and transformative lesson.

The word “Eikev” has the same grammatical root as the word heel in Hebrew. When Jacob and Esau were being born, the verse says concerning Jacob: “After that, his brother emerged with his hand grasping onto the heel (Ba-eikev) of Esau (Genesis Chapter 25 verse 26).

Rashi explains that by using the word “Eikev” which also means heel, the Torah is alluding to commandments that people may regard as relatively unimportant in their worldview and they figuratively trample on them with their heels.

However, it is precisely by observing these seemingly “insignificant and unnoticeable” commandments that guarantees a future full of blessing and success, which the parsha goes on to detail.  

Nobody makes the front-page news by being friendly and wishing the cashier a hearty “Good morning” at the supermarket. There are no headlines for the person who knows his best friend is in crushing financial debt and quietly ensures his friend has money so that the family can enjoy a Shabbos or Yomtov meal.

Yet each one of us intuitively knows and understands that performing deeds such as these bring unlimited blessing and goodness into the world. We should be justifiably proud at how we are affecting ourselves, our families and our community in such a positive way by performing “small” acts of goodness such as these.

The parsha this week is educating us that “trivial” acts of goodness seem insignificant, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although there is no fame or expensive plaques to testify to the greatness of these so-called “small” acts, Hashem, who is Almighty and Eternal, is watching and taking note of what we do.

As a result of our actions, He rewards us in ways that we cannot even begin to fathom.  

Dynamite really does come in small packages. Realise that when you do a “minor” and “insignificant” deed, you are revolutionising the world in the most profound way and are actively bringing it to its absolute perfection. There is no greater accomplishment than

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