Happy Feet

October 17, 2019 at 2:37 AM , ,
Yonah Ben Amitai was one of the Olei Regel [Pilgrims who ascended to Jerusalem for the holiday] He entered the Simchas Beis Hasho’evah and Ruach Hakodesh (Divine Inspiration) rested upon him [giving him prophecy]. This teaches us that the Ruach Hakodesh rests upon a person ONLY when his heart is filled with joy. (Talmud Yerushalmi, Sukkah 5:1)

יונה בן אמיתי מעולי רגלים היה ונכנס לשמחת בית השואבה ושרת עליו רוח הקודש ללמדך שאין רוח הקדש שורה אלא על לב שמח – תלמוד ירושלמי, סוכה ה:א

Simchas Beis Hasho'evah
The Talmud states that Yonah’s prophecy was inspired by the joy of Simchas Beis Hasho’eva that he witnessed as anoleh regel. What is the significance of the fact that Yonah was an oleh regel, fulfilling the mitzvah to ascend to the Beis Hamikdash on the holiday, a detail that seems entirely incidental to his attendance of the joyous festivities?

The Torah’s reference to the holidays as the three regalim, and subsequently the term for a holiday pilgrim, oleh regel, teaches us that only those who can walk on their own feet have a  halachic obligation to ascend (oleh) to the Beis Hamikdash on the holidays, as regel in Hebrew also means “foot”. One who is lame (even in one leg), or children who are too young to walk are exempt from this mitzvah, even if other means of transportation are available.

In other words, the awesome experience in the Beis Hamikdash during the holidays – “Just as G-d comes to see (the attendees), so He comes to be seen (Chagigah 2a),” i.e. sensed and perceived – is exclusive to those who have strong and healthy feet.

Our feet do not think, nor do they get emotional. They don’t even discern between good and waste, as our digestive organs do. Rather, in our minds and hearts we determine where the body needs to go, and then our feet simply follow instructions. Thus, in the corresponding spiritual limbs of the soul, healthy feet represent a healthy dose of humble submission and obedience to a higher cause, even if we do not understand or enjoy the task at hand.

This explains the Talmud’s identification of Yonah as anoleh regel. With this the Talmud makes clear that to be in touch with the Divine revelations of holiday and to “draw Ruach Hakodesh” through the joy of Simchas Beis Hasho’evah, our spiritual feet must be in shape.

It is our dull sense of obedience that allows us to truly be inspired.


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—Toras Menachem vol. 15, pp. 91-94






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