Halacha for Tuesday 7 Av 5780 July 28 2020

Wearing Leather Shoes on Tisha Be’av

One of the five prohibitions on Tisha Be’av is wearing leather shoes.

Non-Leather Sneakers
The Poskim discuss the law regarding non-leather shoes which are extremely comfortable, such as sneakers made out of rubber and synthetic materials. Would it permissible to wear such sneakers on Tisha Be’av or should it be forbidden to wear because they are no less comfortable than leather shoes?

Hagaon Harav Rachamim Chai Hwita Ha’Kohen zt”l writes in his Responsa Simchat Kohen (Chapter 173) that since the Rishonim and Acharonim only discuss the prohibition of leather shoes and they do not discuss a prohibition regarding any other materials, one may wear such non-leather sneakers one wears throughout the year on Tisha Be’av as well. Maran zt”l rules likewise in his Chazon Ovadia-Arba Ta’aniyot (page 299).

Suspicion
Another discussion arises regarding wearing shoes made from man-made materials which resemble actual leather shoes on Tisha Be’av. A possible reason for stringency in this regard is because those who see one wearing such shoes on Tisha Be’av may suspect one of transgressing Halacha and wearing one’s regular leather shoes on Tisha Be’av. This was indeed the ruling of Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l.

Nevertheless, Maran zt”l disagrees and rules that since such imitation-leather shoes are quite common nowadays, there is no reason for suspicion and they may be worn on Tisha Be’av. He then provides proofs and sources for his opinion.

Clogs
Rabbeinu Yaakov Castro zt”l describes a common footwear in Egypt in his time called “Kavkav” in Arabic which was essentially a clog whose sole was made of wood, cork with a leather strap on top which holds the sole against the foot. He writes that one may wear such clogs or slippers on Tisha Be’av since the leather strap is not meant to protect the foot and is merely meant to hold the sole in place. Maran zt”l quotes this as Halacha (Chazon Ovadia, ibid, page 301).

Living Among Non-Jews
Ra’avaya (Rabbeinu Eliezer ben Yoel Ha’Levi, one of the great Tosafists) writes that Jews that live among non-Jews may wear their regular leather shoes until they enter the Jewish road/area because the non-Jews would ridicule the Jews for walking barefoot. Several other Rishonim concur.

Nevertheless, Maran Ha’Bet Yosef writes the following regarding this ruling: “Halachically speaking, one should not act leniently. Even if the non-Jews ridicule him, so what?” There is even more reason to rule stringently on this issue nowadays based on the words of the Mishcha De’Rabvata who writes that the non-Jewish ridiculing can be avoided by wearing non-leather shoes. (See Chazon Ovadia, ibid, page 302)

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor- Coronavirus

“Remember What Amalek Has Done to You” On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Vayikra this year, 577......

Read Halacha

Caution Regarding Chametz Issues

Our Sages (Tosefta Pesachim, Chapter 3) taught: “We inquire about and expound the laws of Pesach from thirty days before Pesach.” Based on this, great rabbis throughout the generations have taken the opportunity to teach the laws of Pesach to the public between Purim and Pesach since eve......

Read Halacha

Silver Vessels

Question: May one continue to use silver vessels or utensils, such as a Kiddush goblet, on Pesach after they have been used throughout the rest of the year? Answer: All vessels used all year round with cold foods or beverages may be used on Pesach after having been thoroughly washed beforehand, f......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing of the Trees

The Proper Time for the Blessing of the Trees Our Sages, who have established the Blessing of the Tress, write that the proper time for this blessing is during the month of Nissan, for it is then that trees begin to blossom and buds come forth. It would seem from the words of our Sages though that ......

Read Halacha

Matanot La’Evyonim- Coronavirus

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha

The Blessing of the Trees

One who goes out during the month of Nissan and sees trees starting to blossom recites the blessing: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Shelo Chiser Be’Olamo Kelum U’Vara Vo Beriyot Tovot Ve’Ilanot Tovot Le’hanot Bahem Beneh Adam”. This year (5781......

Read Halacha