Our generation is called: “The Heels of Moshiach.”
A heel has two contradictatory aspects:
One the one hand, it is the lowest part of the body. It is also, the most insensitive part of the body. But on the other hand, the whole body rests on the heel; including, the heart and the head.
The reason that our generation is called: “The Heels of Moshiach”, is because, all past generations, are considered one body. As history has progressed, it has followed the plan laid out by G-d, at its inception. Namely, that it should progress, until Moshiach is revealed, and leads the Jews to the Geula.
Adam Harishon (the first) included all the souls of the future generations. Therefore, when he went against G-d’s will, (by eating from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden), all the future generations were lowered.
Moshiach also includes all the souls of the generations, but he will elevate them all.
As time has gone on, the Jewish body has elevated the brain- intellect, the heart- emotions, and now we are up to the heels- action and Kabblos Ohl (Bittel).
Even though the heels are the lowest part of the body, they take the brain and the heart to places, that they could never reach on their own.
Understanding and feeling, although very refined senses of the body, yet they are still limited. A person can only understand and feel so much. Especially, when we are talking about connecting, with the highest levels of G-d- Atzmus- essence.
The brain and the heart, are not vessels, to be able to receive an infinite light. As was the case, when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai.
When the Jews heard the first two commandments directly from G-d, they died. Their souls flew out of their bodies, because the light was too great, to fit into their limited beings.
Although their souls returned; the next eight commandments, were told to Moses (the Moshiach of that generation), who was a vessel for the infinite light. And he then transmitted them to the Jewish people, on a level that they could absorb.
Which will not be true of this generation of heels. We will be able, through Moshiach, to receive the Torah of Moshiach directly.
The heels are not limited by understanding or feeling, they just do what they are told- action.
The heels can then take, the intellect and emotions, to be able to receive the greatest revelation of G-d, in the history of mankind!
This, is our generation.
In previous generations (for example in the time of the Temple), they had higher souls and more light. But as high as a soul can go, it is still limited to holiness. And the light revealed then, was still only a ray of G-dliness.
Which is not true now. We will transcend all limitations, and reach the level of G-dliness, that is so high, that both the physical and spiritual, will meet as one.
Specifically the heel, does wait to do something, until it understands, or feels something; rather, it immediately jumps into action.
This is similar, to what happened, when the Jews got the Torah the first time. They first said to G-d: First we will do whatever you tell us to do, in the Torah; and then later, we will delve into it, to understand what it says.
So too now, we will first do what Moshiach asks us to do, and then we come to understand on a level, that was previously impossible to understand and feel.
As the phrase goes in our generation: Just do it!
Our generation is called the "Heels of Moshiach." All the generations of Jews are considered as one large body.
The generation at Mount Sinai, was spiritually speaking, considered the head (which is the most sensitive part of the body) of the generations. Since, at Mount Sinai, the Jews experienced G-d, in a very powerful way. The lowest servant, acquired the prophesy, of the greatest Tzadik.
Spiritually, all the generations after Mount Sinai have gone down, both in the level of their souls, and in spiritual sensitivity. Until our generation has reached the level of heels, which are the most insensitive part of the body.
Each generation gets darker (has less of an awareness of Hashem), because each generation has to go lower and lower into physicality, and farther away from revelation of spirituality, in order to elevate the lowest aspects of the physical world.
Our generation’s darkness is called “doubled darkness,’’ because people think that the darkness is light. We don’t even know what light is, therefore, G-d is very hidden. In other words, people think that hedonism itself, is a G-dly endeavor.
On another plane, since the Etzem of G-d is permeating the creation, it is too high to have any sort of open light revealed, since Etzem itself, is dark.
An example being, the visible light spectrum of humans. People cannot see ultra-violet or infrared wavelengths; they exist, but they can’t be seen by the limited human eye. So too G-d, his Etzem is so removed from the limited physical creation, that it cannot be “seen”.
Therefore, a seemingly total lack of spirituality will result, simultaneously, with the greatest revelation of G-dliness that the world has ever known. With only the Rebbe, being able to see the Etzem coming into the world.
This is totally beyond the comprehension of human beings, who assume, that there would be a gradual revelation of G-dliness in the world. The world would continually get better, more peace, prosperity, etc.; until we would reach the point, where the highest level would be reached.
Whereas the revelation of Etzem, is a quantum jump, from the creation, as we know it.
Each generation has a specific Avodah (manner of serving G-d) that is required of that generation; in order to refine the world, and bring it closer to G-d’s ultimate purpose for creating the world; being the Geula, which is brought about through Moshiach.
In previous generations, the main manner in which they elevated their generation was through intellect (the “brain”).
For example, in the times of the Gemmorah; and also in the previous generations in Europe, when memorizing 400 pages
of Gemmorah was considered a minimum.
They also elevated the quality of “emotion”, through emphasizing the importance pf prayer- the service of the “heart”. Having Kavanna (thought and feeling) in prayer. And working on refining Middos, emotions- character.
Until our generation’s Avodah, is to elevate the “heels”- action. In Sefiros it is Malchus, kingship. Action means, to do G-d’s will, (being to follow Halacha (Jewish Law), learn Torah and do Mitzvahs), in spite of the surrounding darkness, without hesitation.
There are ten Sefiros. The first three Sefiros have to do with intellect, the next three relate to emotion, the next three to adjusting the flow of the first six; and the last - Malchus is action; it reveals the previous nine Sefiros.
Also, since there is a rule in Kedusha, that the last, is directly connected with the first; in terms of Hashem revealing Himself in the world, it is specifically this last Sefirah of Kingship that reveals the highest - Etzem, through King Moshiach.
It is also explained, that Malchus is able to transfer this great revelation, because it has no attributes of it own; it is a window.
So too, Moses was a conduit to receive the Torah, because it says about him in the Torah, that he was, ‘The humblest man on the face of the Earth.”
Of course, intellect and emotion also have to be utilized and included in action. Connecting with Etzem, allows one to be able to accomplish, being both, rational, and super-rational, simultaneously.
One has to know and understand, as well as one can, that one doesn’t, and can never, fully understand G-d. The ultimate knowledge, is to know, that one doesn’t know.
It is explained in Chassidus, that one has to continually study Chassidus in order that, what was previously Amunah, faith, should now be transformed into knowledge; and now ones Amunah is on a higher level. This is a continual process of growth and spiritual elevation.
The more one learns Chassidus, the more humble they become, realizing, the less they know about the infinite G-d.
Whereas in secular subjects, the more one learns, the more one feels one knows, therby becoming more egocentric.
A person has to utilize his own being, and yet simultaneously transcend his own being.
This is why Chassidus helps us to intellectually understand G-d in the deepest manner possible; and then we must transcend intellect, by doing things that seem illogical, and impossible, based on the limited nature of the world.
Because in this manner, the person brings down G-dliness (Etzem), into the nature (physical boundaries) of the world, through stretching the physical boundaries of the world; and thereby achieving another step in its refinement.
One also accomplishes the revelation of Etzem in ones own being; which thereby shines Etzem into ones intellect, emotion, and physical body.
For example, the Rebbe would send a Shliach (emissary) to accomplish something, but would leave the methods and details of how to accomplish it, up to the Shliach. In a sense, a person utilizes intellect, to transcend intellect.
Since our generation’s Avodah is to reveal Moshiach, and thereby actualize the Geula (redemption); we need to do a unique Avodah that can accomplish this goal. That is the Avodah of the Bittul of the Heels ,(a place totally void of any feelings or thought- a dark place with no life).
There is a law in Kedusha (holiness), that the lowest levels, contain the highest G-dliness. Only where there is a total absence of light, (being revealed G-dliness), is there found the essence of G-d- Etzem.
Because if Etzem would be totally revealed, it would negate the separateness of the world. Meaning, that the physical creation would disappear into its source- Etzem. Only a place that totally conceals the blinding light of Etzem, can contain Etzem.
On one level this means, that the upper spiritual worlds (including angels), which have the light of G-dliness in a more revealed manner, actually have only a ray of G-dliness revealed there.
Whereas, this world which has total darkness, where G-d is totally concealed, is where G-d‘s Etzem is revealed. The only exceptions to this darkness, being where there is a revelation of Etzem, is: Torah, Mitzvahs, holy objects, and miracles.
Therefore, since the heels lack any semblance of Kedusha, (not the light of intellect or emotion), they are specifically where Etzem is to be found.
So too, when we do the Avodah of “heels, being action and Emuah (faith), we transcend intellect and emotion; and thereby reveal Etzem, and Geula. This is similar to a child, that knows that their parents know more than they do, so they follow their parent’s direction.
Because they know, that they do not understand the world around them. And in order to grow, they must follow someone wiser than themselves. We the “children of Israel” must realize, that our father (G-d), knows more than we do.
In the previous generations of light, in the times of the Beis HaMikdosh, and later in the times of the Prophets; intellect and emotion were enough to connect to G-d. Because then, a certain level of G-dliness was already revealed in the world.
But in the later generations of darkness, being Galus (exile), when the light of the Beis HaMikdosh was destroyed, and there were no great Tzadikim and Prophets to spread light, one now had to access deeper powers of the soul, in order to connect with G-d. This being the essence (Etzem) of the soul. So, the greatest darkness, forced out, the greatest light - Etzem.
In the “pecking order” of this word, intellect is considered the highest power of a person, (although ones goals may be: honor, power, money, fame, to be an intellectual, etc.). In the animal kingdom, the rule of the jungle is, the “survival of the fittest.”
The physically strongest animals, are able to overpower the weaker ones, and remain alive. So too in the finite, human world; the people that have higher intelligence are able to prosper to a greater extent. So, to be more (of an ego, an entity), is to be greater.
Whereas, to become infinite, one needs to leave ones boundaries. Here, transcending ones being is required. To be less (of a physical being), is to be more (infinite).
In Chassidic terms, the animal soul, and even the G-dly soul, have to leave their limited boundaries, even holy boundaries, (which is Bittle); in order to transcend themselves, and reach a totally new, truly infinite level, of existence.
Our generation of heels, has an advantage, over previous generations, of the head (thinking), and the heart (feeling). The heels are the foundation of the body; they give support to the entire body. Without the heels, the body cannot walk forward.
So too, the previous generations stand, and are supported, by our generation; and will all go forward to be redeemed, through our deeds now.
Spiritually, the legs in general, and the heels in particular, represent faith. Faith (like the legs) is the foundation of intellect (Brain) and emotion (heart). Our generation has total faith, which is goes beyond reason.
In addition, even though the heels are less sensitive than the brain, on the other hand, they have true Bittel, humility. This makes them a vessel for the revelation of Etzem; because they do not filter or limit the infinite Etzem, through the limited vessels of intellect or emotion.
Intellect accepts only what it understands, emotion only relates to what can be felt, but the heels have no boundaries.
The heels also have Mesirus Nefesh, self-sacrifice. They are not self-conscious about what others think about them; or will only do things for personal gain, satisfaction, or honor.
Therefore, they are totally one with their source; and as a result, they do whatever is required of them. In this manner, they leave the limited confines of their own physical being, and become a vehicle for G-dliness- Etzem.
The heels immediately do what they are told, by the head, the leader; without intellectual deliberation, or waiting for emotional inspiration. And because they act in an unlimited manner, they lead the person to achieve things and overcome obstacles, in an unlimited manner.
We see, that many young Lubavitcher Shluchim, (emissaries), who live their lives in this manner, see miracles on a regular basis. The heels allow the feet and the person, to move forward in a miraculous manner
Similarly, an infant has a Bris when he is only eight days old, specifically before he has developed his intellect and emotions. Because the Bris reveals in the infant, a level of his soul, that transcends intellect and emotion- Etzem.
In the Zohar (also in Gem. Avodah Zora 5b) it states, that the feet refer to the Yetzer Hara. In this way, we may be able to understand what is the significance of Yakov, (whose name minus the Yud is Ekev –heel), who grabbed the heel of Esav his twin brother before they were born.
This may mean, that the generation of heels, will grab the lowest level of evil beings its heel, and convert it to good, through the heels of Moshiach.
In World War II there was a famous American General named George Patton. He was in charge of a division of Tanks, (in many ways he was similar to Ariel Sharon). One time he had to promote a few officers to a higher rank, to help him lead in battle. He told the potential candidates, to be at a certain place, at a certain time.
Upon arriving he gave each of the officers a shovel, and told each to them to dig a hole in the ground, (approximately) one foot deep, twenty feet long, ten feet wide; and then left.
It was a very hot day, so some of the officers said that, it made no sense, what-so-ever, to dig a hole only one foot deep, what purpose could it possibly serve. So they left.
Another few officers said, that it was below their dignity to do such a thing, and they also left. The remaining soldiers started digging, but after a while after working in the hot sun, doing this back-braking work, a few more officers got tired and frustrated, and quit.
By the time the day was over, only a few officers of the original group still remained, and finished what they were told to do.
When General Patton returned and saw the remaining solders doing the job, those are the ones that he promoted.
In a battle, if someone uses their own limited intellect, and does not follow orders that they don’t understand, then the entire battle in jeopardy.
Only those who are willing to make the sacrifice necessary to do whatever has to be done, even if it doesn’t make sense, they are the ones who will win the war.
Preceding the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the Jews said to G-d, “Naseh VeNesmah”, first we will do whatever Hashem tells us to do, and then we will learn and come to understanding.
This showed, that the Jews were a G-dly people, in that they were willing to transcend their own limited being, and become a vessel for the infinite Torah. This thereby prepared them, for the tremendous revelation at Mount Sinai.
So too now, the Torah of Moshiach, will totally transcend the Torah that we have now. In order to be able to be a vessel for the Torah of Moshiach, we need to again say “Naseh VeNesmah.”
Moshe was humbled by our generation, because when there is light, (G-dliness is openly reveled), such as in the times of Matan Torah, or when the Beis HaMikdosh existed; intellect and emotion were all that was needed, in order to connect with Hashem.
But in our times of heels, when G-dliness is totally hidden, only through the Etzem of the soul, which is manifest in the heels, can one connect with the Etzem of Hashem.
In other words, each generation has reached deeper and deeper levels of the soul. Until our generation can now access, the aspect of the Etzem of the soul.
Each generation are like miners, that go deeper and deeper into the dark tunnels of creation, in order to find the hidden diamonds (sparks) buried there; which are the deepest, hidden levels of G-dliness.
Another advantage of our generation, being insensitive heels, is that, if the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidim (1800’s) would see the Rebbe, they would have been overwhelmed, because of their great sensitivity to holiness; yet we can receive an aspect of Etzem without being overwhelmed. Some people stood in front of the Rebbe, and felt nothing.
We can understand our generation through a story:
Around the 1800’s in Russia, there were landowners called the Poritz. They were absolute rulers over the people who lived on their land.
It would happen, that people would not be able to pay their rent on the inn or land that the Poritz owned. So the Poritz would have them, and their entire family, thrown into the dungeon, until someone would pay their debt.
One such family with young children, were thrown into the dudgeon. The trap-door at the top of the dungeon would open once a day, and scraps of food would be thrown down for the family to eat.
After a few years the small children grew up. They having been raised in the dungeon were talking amongst themselves about how the world works. That the “nature” of the world is, that livelihood comes from the hole in the ceiling, and there is nothing else apart from what they see and experience.
The parents having heard this were appalled, and tried to explain to the children, that there is a whole different world outside of this hole, a world of skies, trees, flowers, mountains, lakes, stars, etc.
The children assumed that their parents were senile, and didn’t pay any attention to them. They understood the real world, and wouldn’t listen to these old-fashioned people.
We are the children, and the Rebbe is the loving parent. He is trying to get us to look up beyond this world, and realize, that we need to ask Hashem to bring us to the true world, of peace, happiness, and holiness- the Geula!