Thursday, August 1, 2013

Global Barefooter-Barefoot in Israel

Greetings to all, and we officially welcome our growing readership from Israel!

With the last-minute move to avert the U.S. fiscal cliff and the impending Israeli election, our leaders could learn from Moses by taking off their shoes and treading on the pebbles of the people they purport to serve.

By Rabbi Joel Seltzer / Jewish World blogger                 
We're not writing a political piece, but we couldn't help sharing that eloquent statement made today by a Rabbi since we're writing about barefooting is Israel.
And we're not writing about religion either, but we can't help noting that the Bible story tells us that God asked Moses to remove his shoes in His presence as the commands came from the burning bush.
Near the time of Jesus, the patriarchal social hierarchy was already the standard for the modern world, and thus it had become apparent that shoes somehow separated the upper classes from the lower. Pre-Christian priests of the region often remained barefoot to demonstrate their position as servants of God, that they were below him.
Bible History Online tells us much abut this. One excerpt says:
 "Priests on Duty Went Barefoot:
The priests of Israel, as would seem true of the priests in general among the ancients, wore no shoes when ministering (see Silius Italicus, III, 28; compare Theodoret on Ex 3, questio 7; and Yer. Shet., 5, 48d). In ancient times, certainly the priests of Israel, when going upon the platform to serve before the ark, in Tabernacle or temple, as later in the synagogue to bless the congregation, went barefoot; though today strange to say, such ministering priests among the Jews wear stockings, and are not supposed to be barefoot (CoTah, 40a; RH, 316; Shulchan 'Arukh, 'Orach Chayyim, 128, 5; see Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Barefoot")."
It is funny how things have changed. Even sandals were frowned upon for men in the Western world until about 25 years ago.
It appears that in Israel, barefooting is an individual lifestyle choice. If you choose to shop barefoot in the city, it's just what you do. Certainly people have much more freedom in Israel, especially women, than in the rest of the Middle East, so we'll see more barefooting there. Of course, there are also many folks there fleeing poverty who may choose shoes for the reason much of western society has. This appears to hold as true in Israel as elsewhere. For a person here with the means to own shoes to go barefoot is an act of quiet rebellion.
Cellist Maya Beiser-photo by Merri Cyr-for The Times of Israel
Jewish-Israelie  musician Maya Beiser kicked off her shoes before a performance as an act of self expression more than rebellion; she likes fun clothes as well and being barefoot in her dress while playing a classical piece on her Cello at a recital was a way for her to free her mind and thus keep her passion alive in her musical performance.
We wish no disrespect to our brother and sisters in Israel who prefer that people keep their shoes on, but to Maya and other Jewsih barefooters in the Holy Land...well...........Mazel Tov!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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