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… open sandals were the most common footwear, and it was customary for guests to leave their sandals at the door when they entered a house. Since most travelers in Israel shared the main roads with camels, horses, and donkeys, it was impossible to completely avoid the droppings of these animals all day long. Sandals provided some protection to travelers, and it was unthinkable to wear them into a person’s house. Nevertheless, it was certain that the residue of the day’s journey (including the odor of the animal droppings) was still deposited on a guest’s unprotected feet. For this reason, the dirty job of washing the animal droppings off of everyone’s feet was reserved for the most insignificant servant of the household……If you really wanted to dishonor and humiliate a person who entered your home, all you had to do was make sure that your servants didn’t bother to wash his feet....

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