Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crocs too comfy?

Our has characteristically taken an old and odd bit of religion news and blown it out of proportion. If you want to read the article, read the talkbacks too; they are the funniest part.
A young yeshiva student asked his elderly ultra-orthodox Jerusalem rabbi if Crocs were OK to wear on Yom Kippur. The rabbi reportedly decided: "It is permissible legalistically, but it is inadvisable."
To quote Ynet,
"The rabbi further explained his ruling saying that he ruled according to the halachic authorities who believe that the prohibition against 'wearing sandals' refers to not wearing leather shoes.
Despite this, the rabbi added, he took into consideration the interpretation of halachic rulers who see the prohibition against 'wearing sandals' as referring to creating a level of discomfort. As such, any shoe that is not from leather but is comfortable to wear is forbidden on Yom Kippur. "

Well, I have no Crocs and my sandals are of rubber and fabric. Will they be kosher enough for my village synagogue tomorrow night?
All it stipulates in the Bible (in Leviticus 16:29, 31; 23:26, 29, 32; and Numbers 29:7) is that on Yom Kippur "You shall afflict yourselves,* and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you: for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you . . . ."
*Actually the Hebrew says וְעִנִּיתֶם, אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם -- You shall afflict your souls.
The rabbis in ancient times then interpreted this to mean that on Yom Kippur eating and drinking, and washing (with water), and anointing (with oil), and putting on leather sandals, and marital intercourse are forbidden.
"In the Talmud's terms, for a brief time we elevate ourselves to the status of angels, who have no corporeal needs and whose sole role in the universe is to serve God. (The rabbis also explain that the things we abstain from are all those that make the soul comfortable in the body. By engaging in activities that make it uncomfortable, the soul is more likely to rise up from the body, taking us to a higher spiritual plane.)" -- This is how artist/writer Lesli Koppelman Ross expains it.
For interesting ideas on the footwear please see her article at
One thing for sure: Life in Israel and in Judaism is never boring!


cieldequimper said...

Interesting Dina. I'm sorry to say religion, whichever it is, often baffles me.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Very interesting.

Yaelian said...

Interesting:-) I don¨t have Crocks either,because everyone else seems to have them. I wonder what vegans are supposed to do on Yom Kipur in the synagogue;they can¨t wear anything from animals...

spacedlaw said...

I suppose the initial idea was to go barefooted.

Dina said...

Ciel, me too.

Yogi, shalom, thanks.

Yaelian, mostly you see people going to synagogue in sneakers/gym shoes.

Spacedlaw, barefoot, you're right!
I just read this in the second link in my post:
"You may notice a lot of people wearing sneakers, particularly the basic canvas and rubber models, to synagogue. It is not for comfort, although they certainly function that way with all the standing we do during the services. Wearing shoes (sandals in biblical days) of leather was forbidden in holy places, as we learned from Moses' experience before the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:5), where he removed his sandals. The Kohanim [priests] removed their shoes when giving the Priestly Benediction in the Temple (as the Kohanim do today when they stand before the Ark in front of the congregation for the dukhan service, during which they make the blessing). Since the day of Yom Kippur entails a reliving of the Temple experience, we forego our leather shoes as well."

FA said...

Hi Dina, great post! We struggle with legalistic interpretation of the law all the time - I'm more of the "spirit of the law" kind of priest. I have a pair of Crocs that my sister gave me, and a pair of plastic Birkenstocks. Both are comfortable and easy to slip out of when I have to play the organ five times a day. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the comments at the end of the article - very amusing!

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

Croc: Expensive but comfortable ... (my wife and children love them; i don't like the design and colors.) that's an interesting story for a footwear. thanks for sharing, Dina.

Pietro said...

Interesting, Dina. I think that prohibitions in the religions are always a sort of "forcing", aren't they?

mirae said...

Hi Dina, I love to hear about your religious laws.

Now in another vein, for me it would be a zillion great pains to wear those things, I hate them. We have them in Canada.

I will have to wear them during lent instead of sleeping on a bed of nails. ha ha.


Cloudia said...

I think that declining those things makes us aware of how dependant we are on G*D for every nourishment, every breath.
He is the comforter......
Bless you, Sister

Comfort Spiral

Leif Hagen said...

Put your right foot in,
Put your right foot out,
put your right foot in and shake it all about,
and do the hoooookie poookie!!

Kay said...

Gee... I don't know. I tried a Croc on at the store and it didn't feel all that comfortable. My granddaughter loves them though. So blisters would be good, hunh?

Ann said...

Here the docs and nurses like to wear crocs, but they are banned, they say, it is not safe.

I bought a pair of imitiation crocs for my son.

Seen you comment on Arija's site, and wanted to know you more.

RuneE said...

Sometimes I'm glad that I'm not a religious person... :-)

Archaeogoddess said...

So no crocs? But that's the national footwear of Israel! Everyone has a pair or two! (I'm just poking gentle [gentile!] fun, I'm a Teva girl myself.)

However, my most comfortable sandals happen to be a leather pair I picked up in the old city a few years ago. Good thing I'm not jewish or I'd be having a heck of a halachic conundrum!

Peace be to you and your family on this Yom Kippur!

Birdman said...

Some humorous comments there. You are right! And yes, your note at my site pORTcITYdAILYpHOTO is correct. It is the carpenter's shop, at the lighthouse on Monhegan!

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Mediterranean kiwi said...

i cannot stand croc shoes - that explains why i dont wear them...