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

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Some Details Regarding the Prayers of the Days of Awe

Anyone who appreciates the loftiness of the Days of Awe customarily tries to recite all prayers of these days with much precision and care. There are many Machzorim on the market containing several versions for various texts, some which can be relied upon and others which cannot be relied upon at al......

Read Halacha

Lighting Candles on Rosh Hashanah and the Issue this Year

The Laws of Candle-Lighting on Rosh Hashanah On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we customarily light Yom Tov candles before the onset of Yom Tov similar to the way we light them on Erev Shabbat. If the candles were not lit before the onset of Yom Tov, a woman may even light the candles on Yom Tov i......

Read Halacha

Should One Cry on Rosh Hashanah?

Question: What is the proper way to behave during the prayers of Rosh Hashanah: Should one arouse himself to cry during the prayers in order for Hashem to pity us and grant us all of our requests or should one pray amid great joy? Answer: The Mitzvah to be Glad on Rosh Hashanah The Poskim deli......

Read Halacha


Eating and Washing One’s Self Yom Kippur

Some Laws of Yom Kippur All are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur, including pregnant and nursing women. Any woman whose health is at risk due to the fast should consult a prominent Torah scholar who is well-versed in these laws and he should render his ruling whether or not she must fast. One whose ......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Yom Kippur

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

The Custom of Kaparot and the Custom of Maran zt”l

Question: Should one fulfill the custom of Kaparot specifically using chickens or should one merely use money? Answer: It is customary among all Jewish communities to perform Kaparot on Erev Yom Kippur by slaughtering chickens for every member of one’s household. It is customary to use a ro......

Read Halacha

Preparing for the Day of Judgment

During the days preceding Rosh Hashanah, every single member of the Jewish nation must contemplate his/her actions and perform some sort of self-introspection in order to ascertain how one can improve one’s actions and Mitzvah observance so as to guarantee one’s self powerful defenders o......

Read Halacha