Question: I have read that Jewish literature describes the Arabs that visited Abraham as having worshiped the dust of their feet. Do you know if this is to be taken literally? Is there any such religion to our knowledge that worshiped the dust?
Answer: Well, first of all, the part about them being “Arabs” is probably not literal, as Ishmael (the ancestor of the race we now know as Arabs) was only 13 years old at that time – and hardly old enough to have children the apparent age of the angels who appeared to Abraham and Lot. As far as actual worship of the dust of people’s feet, I took a quick Internet search and discovered that Hindus actually worship the dust of the feet of one of their gods (and have rather elaborate explanations as to why, and what other applications that might have). From that, I don’t imagine that it’s too much of a stretch to find people worshiping the dust of their own feet. I have a friend whose wife is a convert from Sri Lanka. She once told me that, when she was younger (and before she was Jewish), she was an airline stewardess. On the arrival of one flight to Nepal, local people actually sacrificed a full-grown bull to the airplane! As a general rule: if it exists, someone, somewhere probably worships it!
I hope this has been helpful.
With my best regards,
Rabbi Boruch Clinton