There is a custom among some Jews to eat foods made from feet on our Sabbath. Okay that sounds gross, but fellow earthlings (and mom), please, let us open our minds to the cultures of the world...
Right then, as we were. So feet. Not human feet mind you. Maybe chicken feet, or cow feet. Some time back I was in Switzerland and had some jelly made from cow hoofs. It was pretty darn good.
One of the reasons given (in the big book of reasons that I've been skimming through) is that Shabbos is the day of truth. All week long we're involved in the world, a world which covers over G-d and makes it sometimes hard to remember and live the truth. But on Shabbos we are able to remove ourselves a bit and look at the big picture.
Now here comes the cool part. The way falseness gets its sustenance is from having a veneer of truth. No one believes straight up lies, there has to be some sort of truth woven in, usually from the part that matters least. The end so to speak. Well not the end end. That is usually a summary. Almost the end. The Hebrew word for falseness is "Sheker", as such:
Notice how it's made up of 3 of the last 4 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet (Aleph Bet), namely, Kuf, Reish, and Shin.
Truth on the other hand is “Emes”, as such:
There is Alef (the first letter), Mem (the middle letter), and Tuf (the last). For truth is always true, be it at the beginning, the middle or the end. Now or later, here and there.
“What does that have to do with feet?” you ask. Sheesh, I’m getting there, just because this is the internet, doesn’t mean I have to be brief.
Another aspect of the falseness, is that while it may look imposing and impressive, it’s quite easy to knock over. In Hebrew there is an expression “it doesn’t have legs”. If you look at the first word, all the letters are precarious. Perfectly balanced on a web of deceit, just one breath of truth and all those letters come crashing down. “Emes”, truth, on the other hand “has legs”. Each letter is firmly placed on a plateau of time-tested axioms, principles, and good ol’e facts.
And that’s why we eat feet on Shabbos. Truth, Legs, Feet, Sabbath. You got it.
In our recent move and the life-changes that have come along with it, I’ve been working hard at making sure the truths in my life stay in the foreground. It’s easy to forget why we do the things we do, and to get lost in those things themselves. It’s how many of us just keep on doing what’s done, instead of asking why at each junction. And it’s what I’m been trying to fight.
In an entirely unrelated vein, here are some photos of the truly lovely family.
Peace, love, and sautéed, sustainably-harvested, organic chicken feet.
This is their “don’t make me get my shotgun from my pickup truck” face.