4. Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Aba, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yitzchak were in the house of Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair. Rabbi Pinchas spoke to Rabbi Shimon saying: I beg of you, you who are appointed from above, to speak openly about that which no other person was permitted to speak. Say something new about this passage. He said to him: Which passage is it? He said to him: "This is the ordinance of the Torah" (Bemidbar 19:2). He said to him: Here are the other friends, let them speak. He told his son, Rabbi Elazar: Elazar, stand up and say something about this passage. Then the friends will speak after you.
5. Rabbi Elazar stood up and spoke: "Now this was the custom in former times in Yisrael concerning redeeming and concerning exchanging, to confirm..." (Rut 4:7). This scriptural verse must be studied carefully. If the earlier ones have made this consensual agreement, TO BUY EVERYTHING THROUGH A SHOE, according to the law of Torah, and the latter ones came and voided it, WE MUST INQUIRE why it was made void. Is not one who abrogates any matter in the Torah considered as if he destroys the whole world? If it is not a Torah law but merely an agreed consensus, THE QUESTION IS why SPECIFICALLY a shoe was used here, AND NOT ANY OTHER METHOD.
6. HE RESPONDS: It was most certainly according to the law of the Torah, and it was done with a lofty secret. Because the earlier were pious and just, this matter was revealed and known among them. And when the wicked increased in the world, this matter was accomplished in a different manner, in order to cover these matters which are in accordance with a lofty secret.
7. Come and behold: it is written, "and he said, 'Do not come near: put off your shoes from off your feet...'" (Shemot 3:5). HE ASKS: Why is the shoe specifically mentioned here? HE RESPONDS: It is the way we were taught, that He commanded him to separate from his wife and join another woman of the light of the holy up high, which is the Shechinah.
8. That shoe is explained in another place; it is explained THAT WHOEVER TAKES IT passes THE ONE WHO GIVES IT from this world and installs him in another world. Consequently, everything that the dead one grants to a person in his dream is beneficial. However, if he takes any utensil from the house, it is harmful, for example, if he takes his shoe. What is the reason, since THAT INDICATES that he passed his foot, which gives standing support to the person, from this world and gathered him to another world to the place where the dead one dwells. A SHOE ALLUDES TO HIS LEG, WHICH GIVES HIM DURABLE SUPPORT, as it is written: "how beautiful are your feet in the sandals, O prince's daughter" (Shir Hashirim 7:3). The secret of the matter is among the friends.
9. That is so, that when the dead one takes it, IT INDICATES THAT HE PASSES HIM ON TO THE PLACE OF DEATH. However, when the living one draws off his shoe and gives it to another person in order to maintain a transaction, he carries this out by the decree of the above, WHICH MEANS THAT IT WAS DECREED THAT THE POSSESSION SHOULD PASS ON FROM THIS ONE'S PROPERTY TO THAT ONE'S PROPERTY. The removal of the shoe in the ritual of Chalitzah (removal of the sandal in the law of levirate marriage) is another shoe in the likeness of the above, THAT IS, AS HE EXPLAINS FURTHER, all is one secret meaning.
10. Come and behold: when this dead one departs from the world without children, this prince's daughter, WHICH IS MALCHUT, does not gather that person to her. He goes about loitering and wandering in the world, because he cannot find a place. The Holy One, blessed be He, has mercy on him and commands his brother to redeem him, so that he shall return and be restored in other dust, MEANING THAT HE SHALL INCARNATE, as it is written: "and man shall return to dust" (Iyov 34:15). And this has already been explained.
11. If this redeemer does not wish to revive his brother in this world, MEANING TO MARRY HIS WIFE IN ORDER THAT HE MAY INCARNATE THROUGH THE BIRTH OF A SON, it is required to tie a shoe to his foot. That woman will take off the shoe and receive that sandal for herself. And why the sandal? It is only because this shoe is for the dead one, THAT IS, IT IS CONSIDERED AS BELONGING TO THE DEAD ONE, and he places it on the foot of his living brother. The woman, THE WIDOW, accepts that shoe to indicate that this dead one returns among the living through this ritual.
12. That is the opposite of the shoe that the dead takes IN A DREAM from the living, THAT WE MENTIONED ABOVE. THROUGH THE TAKING OF THE SHOE, HE PASSES ON THE LIVING FROM THIS WORLD TO THE OTHER WORLD OF THE DEAD. Now the living man takes this shoe OF CHALITZAH from the dead one. THEREFORE, the dead one walks among the living in that shoe. FOR IN THAT CASE THE LIVING WIFE WOULD HAVE LED THE DEAD FROM THE OTHER WORLD TO THIS WORLD AMONG THE LIVING, FOR HE WHO WOULD HAVE INCARNATED IN THE SON THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN BORN FROM THAT MARRIAGE. BUT NOW THAT HE DOES NOT WANT TO MARRY HER and the wife takes him to her, to indicate that the woman is the crown of her husband, WHICH IS THE SHECHINAH, she accepts him and takes him to her.
13. There is a requirement to throw that shoe on the ground, to indicate that the body of the dead one has calmed. And the Holy One, blessed be He, will have compassion for him and accept him into the other world at this time or sometime later. In addition, the striking of the sandal from the hands of the wife to the ground comes to show that this dead one will be resurrected from the dust of another body in this world, MEANING HE WILL REINCARNATE. But he will first return to the dust whence he came. Then, that woman is permitted to produce other children, as has been explained.