Passover – Sandals in Exodus

Reflection on Sandals in Exodus and Shoes on the Doorstep

In Parashat Bo, Exodus 12, during the plague of the first born, there are instructions for a practice run. The instructions are to “gird your loins, wear sandals, and have a stick ready.” The Israelites needed to be ready at a moment’s notice – to have their shoes on and be ready to leave.

From the HIAS resources for a seder focused on welcoming the stranger and protecting refugees, leaving a pair of shoes on your doorstep is symbolic of standing in solidarity with today’s refugees:

“The heart of the Passover seder tells the story of the Jewish people’s exodus from slavery in Egypt. During the retelling of this story, we say the words, Arami oved avi. This phrase is sometimes translated as “My father was a wandering Aramean” and other times as “An Aramean sought to destroy my father.” Somewhere between the two translations lies the essence of the Jewish experience: a rootless people who have fled persecution time and time again…These words acknowledge we have stood in the shoes of the refugee.”

We wore sandals to leave Egypt and we recognize the shoes worn by refugees as they flee.

Can the shoes also be symbolic of chasing out the chametz along with the covid-19 virus?

– Dalia Levine