The Heel


Rabbi Banaah was measuring tombs … [and] came to the tomb of Adam…. Said Rabbi Banaah: “I looked at his two heels, and they shone like suns”

Talmud, Bava Batra 58a

All my life I’ve been stepped on. The others—the brainy head, the oh-so-sensitive heart, the busy hands, and all the other sophisticated guys up there—are scarcely aware of my existence. Still, I serve them without complaint. That’s my job. I bear their weight, take them wherever it is they need to go, or just cool my heels while awaiting further instructions. Because that’s my job.

Of course they’ll never admit it, but if they would for a moment consider the callused pads far beneath them, they might learn a thing or two. The other day, we came upon an obstacle: an ice-cold stream. Or a bed of smoldering coals. Or was it a thorny field? Whatever. The head understood that we must go on. He had it all worked out. He even wrote a book explaining the necessity to plunge in and forge ahead (I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but I will, someday soon). The heart was all excited by the challenge, and the hands had their hands full with all the contraptions they were creating to help us across. But at the brink of those jagged rocks (or the muddy swamp) they hesitated. The head wanted to recheck one or two references in its thesis. The heart was not quite in the mood. The hands had a few minor adjustments to make in the machinery. It was I who moved in. Sure, there were those who advised me not to let everyone step on me like that. But I moved right in. Because that’s my job.

Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber


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