The Brave Heel
Our Rabbis teach that the opening phrase of our Torah reading Vihaya eikev tishmayon - "It shall come to pass when you heed...." alludes to our present era, ikvasa demeshicha, the time when Mashiach's approaching footsteps can be heard. When we observe the Torah and its mitzvos in ikvasa demeshicha, the commentaries explain, G-d will keep the promises mentioned in the Torah and bring the Redemption.
Implied is that there is something unique about our observance during the stage of the “footsteps of Moshiach” that will precipitate the Redemption. The unique quality of our generation is hinted at by the word eikev, which also means "heel" in Hebrew. When you want to enter an extremely cold swimming pool, which is the easiest limb to put in first? The feet. Although the feet lack the sensitivity of the more refined limbs of the body, they respond more readily to our will. The very “lowliness” of the foot is its strength, enabling it to withstand harsh conditions and keep soldiering on. Similarly, although our generation may lack some of the spiritual refinement of the previous generations, like the heel, we are able to show a deeper commitment to fulfilling G-d's will.