Purim is the perfect time to invite guests who
think that Judaism is stodgy and restrictive.
As we stomp all over Haman’s name during the Megilla reading, and then sit
down to a meal that’s more liquid then solid, I most enjoy watching Purim dismantling
all of their pre-conceived notions. I don’t tell my guests (who are having too
much fun to worry about it) that even as we do something that seems strange or
unusual, we are making a powerful statement that reverberates through time in
order to bring the ultimate redemption.
Stomping Out Haman
The custom of stomping at the sound of Haman’s
name begins at the feet, so let us take off our shoes and examine the bottom of
our “soles/souls”. Most of us have a
live and let live relationship with our feet.
If they do not bother us, we don’t worry about them. We don’t usually buy special vitamins or
minerals to enhance their functioning and at best we notice them because we
need them as a place to put our shoes.
Our feet don’t seem to “kick up” much of a fuss about this attitude
because they are too busy either standing or walking. Walking is an amazing process, that we take
for granted, which involves the foot’s ability to be rigid and calloused, yet
flexible and mobile: taking steps begins
with the foot in a rigid state, the heel
hitting the ground, it then continues
with the foot unlocking and flexing so the knee can pass over it. Our weight is then transferred to the ball of
the foot as we propel ourselves over the toes whereupon the foot again becomes
rigid to provide the momentum for the next step. Although small in comparison to the body, the
foot is able to support its full weight using muscles, tendons sinews and
interestingly twenty six bones.
The feet are furthest from the head and seem to be
unconnected from all the other organs. Yet
according to a fairly popular alternative medical practice called reflexology, applying
pressure to designated points on the feet can restore health and well being to
each part of the body for a wide variety of ailments. According to this system,
there are said to be, even more interestingly, 7200 hundred nerve endings in
the feet which connect to zones so that each part of the foot corresponds to
some part or organ of the body. For
example, the various organs and systems of the body are represented on the sole
of the foot while the big toe corresponds to the head. The lungs correspond to the ball of the foot
while the waist is a line crossing the instep and the small intestine and
bladder are located towards the heel.
The feet also seem to be the farthest removed from
that which is holy and pure. Yet, it
would be very difficult to interact with the world in the fulfillment of many (mitzvoth)
specific good deeds without their assistance. And it is that interaction with the world that
Purim is so much about as this holiday begins with an awakening from “below”.
Our generation’s place in history lies on that end
of Hashem’s time line that is embedded deeply within a mindset that often
connects itself to self gratification, that is at the bottom end of the
fourth of our four exiles, 
yet, we play a “pivotal” role. Like the
“soles” of the feet, most “souls” today are distant from the achievements of
earlier generations, yet it is our duty to lift ourselves up, “striding” ever
forward bringing the knowledge of Hashem into the here and now – which time is
referred to as the (ikvei) [heels] footsteps of the HaMasiach. Although this last exile like our heels has
become somewhat calloused it is precisely that quality that gives us the opportunity
to illuminate this epoch in time so that the ultimate redemption can occur.
Interestingly, our feet play a crucial role in
this epic drama. They serve as the liaison between our “souls” and the ground.
By having “our feet on the ground” – ie. in this material world, we are
vulnerable to the nefarious plans of (Haman/Amalak) those who personify evil,
but at the same time this positions give us a solid “foot-hold” in this battle.
Although our physical “soles” are connected to
earthliness, our holy “souls” are unified with the true Source of All. We therefore literally have the power to “stamp
out” the influence and memory of Haman and Amalek with each “step” bringing us closer
to their “de-feat” and the our ultimate redemption.
The Ari Hakadosh
teaches that the purpose of the four exiles was to repair the sin of Adam Ha
Rishon, the first man, with each exile corresponding to the various parts of
the Primordial Man. So the Egyptian and Babylonian exiles repaired the head,
and Midai, the chest, the Greek exile was the lower part of the body and
finally the exile of
was the feet.
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