Why all the details:
In the beginning of this week’s Parsha the Torah promises us tremendous benefit, “Eikev Tishmeun”, loosely translates it means when or because you will listen. The peculiar wording of “Eikev” immediately raises eyebrows when one reads it, why did the Torah choose to use such an interesting wording to make a seemingly basic point; that we should be listening to Hashem?
Rashi brings down a Medrish Tanchuma that explains the word from the root of “Akev” the heel. The idea is if you will keep the mitzvos that people usually trample on with their heel, meaning the small seemingly insignificant mitzvos. Included in this we can also add the small details of a mitzvah that human nature has a tendency to see as insignificant and consequently to disregard.
The question is why are the small details so necessary? Why are they so significant? After all, if you have a nice three story building how much does it really matter if the knob has 3 screws or 2 screws, if the wall is completley painted from floor to ceiling or is missing 1 centimeter of paint.
There is a story of a man that attended a kiruv seminar and was very moved by what he heard there. A week later he wrote a letter to the Rabbi that spoke at the event: “Dear Rabbi A, Last week I sat through your lecture and was very moved with what I heard. You talk about a life of meaning, a life of Judaism and purpose. At this point in my life I am ready to accept the yoke of heaven and keep the mitzvos. There is one point that still troubles me and I would appreciate if you can please help me understand it it. Why does G-D care about all the little gritty details, why do they matter?
This is the third letter I am sending you rabbi. I haven’t received a reply from you for my first 2 letters and I am suspecting that there is no satisfying answer for my question and that is the reason for your silence.
The Rabbi responds as follows, “Dear David, I am very sorry to hear that you haven’t received my reply, in fact I replied to your first letter just minutes after receiving it. I also replied to your second letter. I sent you my reply to the email address you gave me, but I left out just one MINOR detail in the address, the “.”- I figured that it’s not really necessary and just a minor detail that can be overlooked.
The idea here is, the details don’t just add to whatever one is doing, they change the entire thing, they elevate it and produce something on a higher caliber.
The difference between people who paint nice paintings and the professional painters is the details. The professionals have a special eye for the details.
Any cook will tell you that leaving out an ingredient will not just diminish a little the taste of the cake but will actually affect the entire quality and class of the cake.
There are people that can get a job done and there are those that get a job done well, the difference is the details, the tiny seemingly insignificant details is all the difference.
The difference between a clean house and a “shiny home”, between a good job and a phenomenal job, between good relationships and amazing relationships- is the details.
The Torah is telling us not to exclude the details, they are all necessary for our Avodas Hashem they are all part of the way we should be serving Hashem, without them our Torah and Mitzvos are not just lacking but are incomplete.