A foot is a funny thing in Hebrew. It naturally demonstrates a truth that investigative law enforcement officers know. It is very hard for your feet to lie. Your eyes can lie so well that they even made a country song out of it. Your facial muscles can be trained to lie without detection. Your hands give mixed signals.
The feet, however, tend to point in the direction they want to go. It take a conscious effort to make your feet lie. Inexplicably, they point in the direction that your heart wants to go. If you're having a conversation with someone, and both sets of their toes are aiming for the door, then you may be the only one enjoying the talk while he or she is ready to walk.
The hotel lobbies in Israel are common meeting places for Orthodox "dates," which consist of a public meeting (no touching) to talk. If there is interest, a second date (still no touching) is scheduled, and so on. It doesn't take many of those conversations for the matchmaker to find out if she's made a good match. If you happen to be in the lobby, it's easy to practice your "foot skills" by observing the dates. The toes tell the tale. If her toes start pointing toward the exit, you can bet it's the last meeting, and vice versa. If two sets of toes gradually align toward one another, then bingo! You probably have a second date.
The Bible knows what the heart and feet know: they are connected. Your toes will point to what your heart desires. Your feet will take you there. In the synagogue, the Aaronic benediction is pronounced each Shabbat. After each line of the blessing, the congregants whisper, "Ken yehi ratzon."
May Adonai bless you and keep you.
May Adonai make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May Adonai lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Ken yehi ratzon.
"Ken yehi ratzon" affirms the blessing. It roughly translates to "May You so desire the blessing upon me." The ratz in ratzon means "run." What we desire, we run to.
In this week's Torah portion, Esau ran to Israel and kissed his neck. In this meeting, Esau "lifts his eyes," a phrase of prophecy. "Who are these?" he asks Israel.
"The children whom God has graciously given your servant," says Israel. Jacob left Canaan. He returns to Israel, for his name and identity have changed. This name and direction change are so important that it is commemorated by observant Jewish families until this day. They don't eat meat attached to the sciatic nerve of an animal. Israel's blessing from the wrestling for the preservation of his children. Not just the children who accompanied him, but the children that Esau saw in prophecy. Israel.
For you and for me, Jacob became Israel. He wouldn't let go until he received the blessing to pass on to his children in the Land of Abraham and Isaac. That should make your feet itch for Israel. Not just to be called Israel, but to return even though it will require stubborn wrestling to even visit the Land of Israel.
To run to Israel is to run because of a vision of prophecy fulfilled. To run to Israel is to run because your heart desires it. Your feet hear the message of your heart: "Run home. Embrace Israel. Desire it. And weep when your feet touch its sacred soil."
You may have to go slow. Even Joshua and Caleb couldn't stay on their first visit, but they never gave up until they returned to her soil. Is it a coincidence that they survived the wilderness journey? They loved Israel. They embraced her. They desired her. And they returned to her safely because they desired her blessing.
Israel said that he would have to travel slowly because of the nursing children and flocks: "according to the foot of the children." Hard travel would kill them in a day. Israel has the ability to walk her children slowly. She doesn't demand that they pass a scholarship test or write an essay about each location. Israel lets her children gaze in wide-eyed wonder at every place. She transports them on air-conditioned buses with wifi!
In Vayishlach, at Beth-El, the House of God, Jacob anoints a pillar and fulfills his vow to return, worship, and tithe from the increase. He fulfilled a VOW that will be paid at The House on the journey back.
Later, Israelites paid their vows at the three pilgrimage festivals at the Temple. A vow hints strongly to the chagim, the three "foot festivals" of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
The "good news" of the pilgrimage feasts is related to Jacob's feet when he leaves Beth-El:
Behold, on the mountains
the feet of him who brings good news
; pay your vows
never again will the
one pass through
is cut off completely
. (Nahum 1:15)
After Jacob vowed to pay a tithe if Adonai returned him to the Land in peace, he "lifted his feet," and went toward the land of the easterners..." (Ge 29:1 Artscroll Rashi)
Why does the Hebrew text say that Jacob "lifted his feet" instead of "walked"? Rashi says, "Once he was imparted good tidings, that he was assured of being guarded, his heart lifted his feet and it became easy to walk."
Jacob reminds Laban that blessing came to Laban "to my foot." (Ge 30:30)
Rashi comments, "This means because of the arrival of my foot to you, with the coming of my foot, blessing came to you."
It is to the good tidings of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot that Israel returns his children. The tithes and the livestock are the sign of strangers from other nations returning to "Abraham's bosom."
Today more and more people identify as Israel. Not just "spiritual Israel," but people learning, loving, and desiring the Covenant that will one day rule the Land of Israel. Yeshua and the Torah is their desire. Now it is time to lift our feet to express our thanks for a Divine plan to return the children to the Land of Abraham, Isaac, and...Israel. It is time to both be a foot blessing where we are and to direct our desire to the Land of Israel for the feasts. It is time to return and be a blessing to the Israel.
If Israel is your heart's desire, point your feet toward Israel and wrestle for her. You'll never walk the same.
If a feast in Israel is the desire of your heart and feet, then join us for Passover 2019. Our tour will focus on the Biblical teaching of resurrection. We will study the process of death, burial, post-mortem experience, and two resurrections from Genesis to Revelation. Specific sites along the journey will offer the opportunities to stand on the ground where biblical events and prophecy of the nations will take place.
In particular, we will focus why even one visit to the Land is a proclamation of faith in the resurrection and why the Land "rises."
We need your registration and $500 deposit by December 15.