Wednesday, November 24, 2010

for a pair of shoes

The Midrash interprets the pasuk in the hafatarah, “Al michram b’kesef tzadik, v’evyon b’avur na’alayim,” as referring to the sale of Yosef by his brothers, who then used the money to buy shoes. Odd – it’s hard to imagine that the Shevatim were walking around barefoot before they sold Yosef. And is it really important to know how the brothers spent the money from the sale?

The Ostrovtzer explains beautifully that Midrash is speaking a symbolically. When Moshe speaks to the Shechina at the burning bush he is told to remove his shoes. The kohanim walked barefoot without shoes in the Beis haMikdash because that is the holiest place in the world. We don’t wear shoes on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. For Ya’akov and the Shevatim, Yom Kippur was everyday; every action of theirs was like the avodah of kohanim in Mikdash -- that is, until they sold their brother Yosef. The disintegration of the unity among Ya’akov’s children spoiled that pristine state of kedusha, and the brothers from that moment were no longer required to be barefoot, as the Shechina had left their midst.

1 comment:

  1. The more shoes, the further the steps from utter holiness, perhaps? What would that say about people who acquire dozens of pairs, I wonder.