Parashat Ekev – the Heel and Messiah

“It will come to pass, because (eikev) you will listen to these judgments… God will safeguard unto you the covenant and the kindness he swore to your fathers” (Dt7:12).


One expects this to be conditional: “If you’d listen to these judgments” (Im tiShmeun et hamishpatim haEleh), but it says:

“Because you will listen to these judgments” (eikev tiShmeun et haMishpatim haEleh).

Reiterating for a hundredth time what our sages taught, it’s very curious to notice that instead of using the common word for “IF” (Im), Moses decided to use the word: “Eikev” (because, due to, in consequence with), opening for us a range of interpretations.

The word Eikev (because) is made of three letters: “Ayin, Kof & Beit”. The same with ‘Akev’– עקב – which means: heel. The first time this word appears in the Torah is when God tells the Snake: “he [the seed of the woman] will bruise your head and you will bruise his heel [akev]” (Gn 3:15).

In Hebrew the “heel” (akev) represents the end of something – as opposed to the “head” (rosh) that represents the beginning.

  • The beginning of Creation is called: “be-RESH-it” (Gn 1:1) – Rosh (head).
  • Our world is said to exist for 6 thousand years and the seventh millennium will be the Messianic day where the world will rest in a cosmic Shabbat. This is the preparation for the 8th millennia – the time of Eternity, the World to Come; and since the world is made of 6 days and one Shabbat, the 8th day represents a “New World”, as it’s written: “behold, I create new Heavens and new earth” (Is 65:17); not out of nothing, but from the Light of the previous world.
  • The days prior to the coming of Messiah are called: “the heels of Messiah” (in Aramaic Ikveta d’Meshiha) a time where the Snake bruises the people of God, as it’s written: “you [snake] will bruise his [Messiah’s] heel” (Gn 3:15).
  • “When Messiah comes, the renewal of the world will begin—it will be as if the world was actually created anew. This is because the creation of a perfected world will begin then. Therefore, [since our world is the result of the restriction of the Infinite Light – which produced a Vacated Space in which we would be able to exist as independent entities (cf. Arizal)] this [new world] must be preceded by… a removal of Light too” (cf. Likutei Halakhot, Minkhah 5:4).


The filling letters of Eikev (or Akev) in their simpler form (Ayin Kof Bet) equal 718.

עקב = עין קוף בת = 718

718 is the value of the verse: “Adonai is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath” (Psalm 110:5).

Our sages explain that the entire Psalm refers to a number of people (according to the different methods of interpretation and the 70 faces of the Torah).

  • to King David – as alluded to in a hyper-literalistic interpretation of its opening words: “LeDavid, Mizmor” – To David, a Psalm (Psa 110:1).
  • to Abraham – when he fought the war of Canaan, and won, and then Melchizedek went to meet him (cf. Nedarim 32b).
  • to Messiah – as the “Rod” mentioned in verse 2 is Messiah’s rod (cf. Bereshit Rabbah 85:9cf. Psal 2:9).

We will focus on the interpretation that says that this Psalm refers to Messiah.

Our sages exposed:

“the king Messiah is more beloved than the priest of righteousness (ie. Aaron), for it is written [in Psalm 110 about Messiah]: You are a priest forever” (Avot D’Rabbi Nathan Ch 34).

They also apply this Psalm to both, Messiah and Abraham by saying:

“the Holy One will set the King-Messiah to his right hand, and Abraham to his left” (Yalkut Shimoni on Tehilim 110).

The phrase: “sit on my right” (Sheiv Limini) equals 452. 452 is “King Messiah” minus one.

שב לימיני = מלך המשיח – 1 = 452

One” (Alef) is also 1000 (Elef), in the mystical secret of: “how will one [ekhad] pursue a thousand [elef]?” (Dt 32:30). The obvious answer is: “for 1 be able to reach 1000 it must walk 999 steps”.

So our previous “King Messiah minus one” represents the 999 corrections of Messiah ben Yosef – the 999 footsteps of Messiah – ie. the preparation for the redemption process that culminates with the coming of Messiah (cf. Kol haTor 1:6) – in other words: King Messiah minus one. 999 is not a random number, but the full Gematria (milui) of God’s Name associated with Yosef (ie. the Sefirah of Yesod) and that name is El-Shadai.

אלף למד שין דלת יוד = 999

From this, the Vilna Gaon says:

“The entire Psalm (110), beginning with ‘Sit on my right’ was said about Messiah ben Yosef, whose name is hinted at through an abbreviated acronym (MBY) in the initial letters of the words ‘he will judge the nations filled [with corpses]’ (Yadin Bagoyim Malei [gvuyot]) (Psal 110:6) – going from left to right, just like the quality of Judgment starts at the left side.  It is also written in the next verse,   ‘from a river along the way he will drink’ (Minakhal Baderekh Yisteh) – which also forms the acronym: MBY; This refers to the quality of Lovingkindness (Hesed), which is hinted at in the initial letters from right to left, just as the quality of Lovingkindness starts at the right side”. (Kol haTor 2:61)

Going back to our verse:

Adonai is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath” (Psalm 110:5),

its value is 718 according to how Divine Providence wanted to preserve it in the Masoretic text. However, there’s an alternative reading. The tikkunei soferim seem to indicate that the original writer didn’t use “Adonai” in this particular verse, but Havaya; the Sacred Name (this would be one of the 134 times where Havaya turned into Adonai). If that were the case, then in the alternative reading its Gematria was 679.

679 is the sum of: “Messiah ben Yosef + Prophets”, or: “Messiah ben Yosef and his messengers”. Both expressions (‘Prophets’ and ‘his messengers’) have the value of 113 – a very interesting number in Kabbalah, since 113 is the number of times the word ‘Heart’ (Lev) appears in the Torah [when carrying the meaning of ‘seat of the intellect’] (cf. Baal haTurim). 113 is also the value of the expression: “an altar to HaShem” (Gn 8:20).

משיח בן יוסף + נביאים = 679

משיח בן יוסף ומלאכיו = 679

The full spelling of Eikev, or Akev (in the complete spelling with yods) equals 738.


עקב = עיין קוף בית = 738

738 is the value of the verse: “And he will say: Where are their gods, the rock in whom they took refuge?” (Dt 32:37).

ואמר אי אלהימו צור חסיו בו = 738

This verse is in the “heart” of Moses’ song, a song that connotes Messianic prophecies – when God will “render vengeance to his adversaries” (Dt 32:41).

This is connected with the “Heels of Messiah”, and with our previous verse:

Adonai is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath” (Psalm 110:5).

The Day of his wrath” is connected to Messiah as it’s written:

“The One enthroned in heaven laughs [over the plots of the kings of the earth against his Messiah]… he rebukes them in his wrath and terrifies them in his displeasure, saying: I have installed my King on Zion” (Psalm 2:4-6).

And also

“Behold, the day of HaShem comes, cruel and full of rage and fierce wrath, to make the earth a desolation, and he will destroy her sins from her” (Is 13:9).

As the Vilna Gaon explains, God will execute his wrath on Earth through the Spiritual force of “Messiah ben Yosef” – in the aspect of the wars of Joshua (the MBY of his generation).


Because (eikevyou will listen to these judgements… God will safeguard unto you the covenant and the kindness he swore to your fathers” (Dt 7:12).

Now that we have seen that the word “Eikev” is an allusion to the “Heels of Messiah”, we can expand on this verses’ interpretation. The text basically is saying that:

“When in the end (in the heel – meaning: during the birth-pangs of Messiah) you will listen to these judgments….  God will safeguard unto you the covenant and kindness he swore to your fathers”. This means, in the words of the commentators that “Prior to Messiah’s coming the Jews will return to God” (Ohr haTorah, Eikev).

This may be shocking for those who are expecting Messiah to come while they do absolutely NOTHING. The Torah does not want you to have a mere intellectual faith in Messiah.

Have you ever heard these sentences?

  • “I believe Messiah will come, until then I don’t care about the world”.
  • “I can do nothing right now, so I hope that in the future Messiah will change the world”.
  •  “I can’t obey the commandments; Messiah will obey them for me”.

The above are FALSE statements. The Baal Shem Tov taught that each and every Jew has a Spark of the Soul of Messiah within. It’s our duty to strive in creating a Home for God on Earth. Messiah can come on his time or can be hastened with our deeds. His coming is preceded by a dramatic season of suffering and judgments, so let’s make it worthy.

Some people teach that “it doesn’t matter what we do”, that we are already saved. Some Jews teach that “everyone have a share in the world to Come” whether we obey the commands or not. Some Christians teach: “We are saved by grace and works do not count”. Those who make of these claims the basis of their theology are being poisoned with the poison of the Snake.

Works count by all means!!!

Someone used to say:  “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith (emunah) but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?”(Ykv 2:14). And the Torah says: “Choose life” (Dt 30:19), and “life” is described as “walking in God’s ways” (Dt 3:15-16).

The Hassidic Masters taught a ‘heel’ has two contradictory aspects:

  • (a)     It is the lowest part of the body and the most insensitive.
  • (b)    The whole body rests on the heel and relies on it for transportation.

The first aspect of the “heels of Messiah” is represented by an increase of secularism among Jews, a general cooling of humankind heart towards God and His Word. Let’s face it, we are not living in the generation of our Sages, who were accustomed to perform daily miracles and hear voices from Heaven. This generation, when compared to previous ones is spiritually the lowest of all – it’s at the heel of them. In consequence this generation is experiencing the ‘bruise of the Snake’ more than any other – not by coincidence the “heels of Messiah” is also called “the birth-pangs”; because Messiah will come through much suffering in the world (cf. Sanh 98b).

The second aspect is represented by our current knowledge/achievement of Torah. The head filters God’s Light – as our sages taught that the first man (adam rishon) was covered in Light (Midrash), but his knowledge of Torah was limited to “Dress the garden and keep it” (Gn 2:15); but the heels are able to bring the Head to different places and overcome limitations where the Light can be perceived in different new measures. As the Hassidic Masters taught, “the lowest contains the greatest Sparks of Holiness”. By this aspect of the heels we will experience the “Torah of Messiah”; the same Torah in a totally new Light. May it be revealed speedily in our days.


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