Sweat the Small Stuff (Eikev)

The name of this week’s parsha – Eikev (עקב) can be translated both as “because” and “heel”. Noting this double meaning, the sages praise the steadfast observance of all the commandments, especially the seemingly insignificant ones that people generally disregard and “trample with their heel”.

Most of us are involved with our children when things get really bad or go really well. Yet, often overlooked are the small things – daily habits and rituals that they spend the majority of their time engaged in. How do they get out of bed? How do they greet you and others? What are their chores and responsibilities around the house? How do they eat dinner and go to bed? How much guidance do they receive with regard to the cultivation of tens and even hundreds of daily habits?

As Jews we are fortunate to have a plan that outlines how these habits are to be developed. Halacha – Jewish law – ensures that gratitude is more than a lofty ideal; it’s the first thing you do when you open your eyes. It ensures that respect is not only something spoken about and lectured on, but the stuff of everyday interactions. It is our job to guide our children as they develop the daily routines that will build their character and make them into the refined human beings that they are called upon to become.