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New Shoes for Pesach

Wednesday, 27 April, 2016 - 10:51 pm

Over the years we have purchased many pairs of new shoes for Pesach for the various members of our family, thank G-d. Pesach has long been a time when families tried to acquire new shoes for the kids and even the adults if needed. At times I have wondered if it is just a convenient time to think about new shoes with all of the holiday prep and spending… or whether there was some inherent connection between shoes and Pesach.

I found a connection this year in a talk from the Rebbe on Pesach. Hashem instructs the children of Israel to eat the Passover lamb on the night before the exodus with their belts girded, staffs in hands and shoes on feet. Now the belts and the staffs are understood because they were preparing to make a hasty exit from Egypt on a moment’s notice. But the shoes pose a bit of a problem. Since the cloud of glory would be accompanying them throughout their journey they had no physical need for shoes to protect them from the elements or dangerous snakes or scorpions. Why then would Hashem command them to wear shoes?

The Rebbe explains that the exodus from Egypt brought them to Sinai and consequently to the giving of the Torah, which would serve as the tool that the Jewish people would need to engage and elevate the physical world and make it a vehicle for G-dliness and holiness. To do this a person must use their feet, namely their outermost faculties to engage the world through work and mundane pursuits while retaining the upper faculties of mind and heart for service of Hashem.

Now when one goes about one’s worldly affairs there is a remote possibility that one may forget that the world is there to serve him rather than the other way around. To ensure that the person does not become enslaved to the mundane, a pair of shoes are worn to keep a person on a spiritual hoverboard – a “tefach hecher - a handbreadth above” the worldliness represented by the ground.

On the last day of Pesach we celebrate the Feast of Moshiach. This holiday prepares us for the imminent redemption. Once again we must internalize this lesson of the Pesaach shoes so that we hover a “tefach hecher” above the world that we seek to perfect for the time of the ultimate redemption.

Join us for this near redemption experience and lace up your proverbial redemption shoes! May we truly be able to say “this year in Jerusalem with Moshiach.”

Chag Sameach
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin    

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