Why was a slave's ear pierced like that? If a Jewish man would steal something and could not pay back for what he stole, the court would sell him as a slave to another Jew and use those funds to pay his debt.
He would serve his master for six years and then he would go free. He would go free unless he said that he loved being a slave to his master and he did not want to go free. If he would say this, his master would put his ear on the doorpost and drive an awl through his ear! What are we to learn from this most unusual way to mark a slave?
First, a permanent mark is made on his body in a way that all can see that he is a slave.
But why pierce the ear on the doorpost? What is so horrible about slavery is not that someone tells you what to do. All of us have worked for a living and the boss has told us what to do. The real problem with slavery is that you cannot quit. The slave is not free to come and go. The master pins the slave to the doorpost showing that the slave cannot leave without the master's approval. He is nailed to his door.
There is a familiar Yiddish saying, a lock in kop - You need it like you need "a hole in the head."
We have to explain to our not-yet-religious teenage boys why they should not follow the popular custom of boys piercing their ears to wear earrings. It is not just that they look foolish trying to get attention in this silly way, but ten or twenty years later (even though they have long since discarded the earrings) when they go in for that important, life supporting job interview, those holes are going to show the prospective new boss a part of their embarrassing past, and the boss will think twice before hiring him.
Just tell the boys that they need a pierced ear like they need a hole in their head.