Schechter Logo for Print

Is it Permissible to Pray Barefoot?
Responsa in a Moment: Volume 14, Number 8 August 2020

Prayer and Synagogues
Responsa by David Golinkin
Synagogue Life

In memory of Susan Lazinger z”l

Beloved wife, mother and grandmother

a person with a “good heart” (Avot 2:9)

and a regular participant in my Talmud class for many years

Who passed away on 12 Av 5780

Yehi zikhra barukh!

Question from Rabbi Yoav Ende: There is a growing trend to remove one’s shoes before entering a synagogue. Is it permissible to pray barefoot?

Responsum:

I) Reasons to permit – or even support – praying barefoot in a synagogue

  1. In the Biblical period, people removed their shoes in a holy place.

Exodus 3:5: And He [God said to Moses]: “Do not come closer! Remove your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground”.

Joshua 5:15: The captain of the Lord’s host answered Joshua, “Remove your shoes from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. 

Pirkei Derabi Eliezer (edited in Eretz Yisrael, ca. 750) used the first of these verses to derive a general principle:

“Remove your shoes from your feet” (Exodus  3:5) – from this [the Sages] derived: Whoever stands in a holy place needs to remove his shoes, for thus said God to Moses: “Remove your shoes from your feet”. (Parashah 40, ed. Radal, fol. 94b)

According to Prof. Gaster, this was indeed the custom among many peoples and religions, in ancient and modern times, including the Sumerians, the Greeks, the Catholic Church, Islam, and Buddhism..   

2. According to a late midrash, the tribe of Levi carried the Tabernacle vessels in the wilderness barefoot

The Midrash Bemidbar Rabbah was edited in Provence ca. 1150 (cf. Hananel Mack, Te’udah 11 [1996], pp.  91-105). There we learn (5:8):

Oh, how the Tribe of Levi was superior in Israel! For the Israelites walked wearing sandals, but the Tribe of Levi, who carried the Tabernacle vessels, used to walk barefoot… (cf. Kasher, pp. 251-252, for parallel versions of this midrash).

3. In the Temple, the priests would officiate barefoot

Prof. Nahum Sarna, in his two commentaries on Exodus, is of the opinion that such was the practice of the Priests in the First Temple period, since no mention is made of sandals or shoes in the lists of priestly garments (Exodus chapters 28-29 and 39, and Leviticus chapter 8).

The Babylonian Talmud, Zevahim 24a, adduces a Baraita by a Sage of the School of Rabbi Ishmael regarding the priestly practice in the Temple: “Just as with regard to service vessels, nothing may interpose between [the Priest] and the service vessel, so too with regard to the floor, nothing may interpose between [the Priest] and the floor.” This halakhah was codified by Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah (Bi’at Hamikdash, 5:17) and Rashi explained the matter in his commentary on Shabbat (fol. 19b at bottom, s.v. “bet hamoked”).

Midrash Shemot Rabbah 2:13 (ed. Shinan, p. 118) links two of the above points:

“Remove your shoes [from your feet]” (Exodus  3:5). Every place where the Shekhinah [God’s presence] is revealed, it’s forbidden to wear shoes, as in [the book of] Joshua. And so the Priests who officiated in the Temple, only officiated barefoot.

4. According to Tannaitic literature, one may not enter the Temple wearing shoes

Mishnah Berakhot 9:5: “One should not enter the Temple Mount with a staff, or with shoes on, or with a money belt, or with dusty feet…”

In Sifre Devarim (paragraph 258, ed. Finkelstein, p. 282), the same halakhah is derived from a verse:

“Let your camp be holy” (Deut. 23:15) — Make it holy, from here they derived: “One should not enter the Temple Mount with a staff, or with shoes on, or with a money belt, or with dusty feet…”

5. After the Destruction of the Second Temple, Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai enacted that Priests must ascend the platform [to recite the Priestly Blessing] barefoot

Rosh Hashanah 31b (= Sotah 40a):

Our Sages have taught [in a Baraita]: Priests are not allowed to ascend with their sandals to the platform [to recite the Priestly Blessing]. And this is one of the nine Takkanot [=rabbinic enactments] that Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai enacted.

Rabbanan suggested in Sotah 40a that the reason for this practice is Kevod Tzibbur [=respect for the public], but Rav Ashi rejected their suggestion, explaining lest a strap in his sandal was broken and he returned [to his seat] to tie it and then they suspected him of being a disqualified Priest.

However, as Prof. Uri Erlich has rightly pointed out (p. 155), this is one of the nine enactments of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai whose goal was to perpetuate the practices of the Temple in the synagogue. In other words, Priests recite the Priestly Blessing barefoot in the synagogue because that was the practice in the Temple.

6. That was the custom in the synagogues of Eretz Yisrael ca. 220 C.E.

The following story is related in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Bava Metzia 2:8, ed. Venice fol. 8d = Ms. Leiden, ed. Akademia, p. 1219):

Yehudah Biribbi [Yehudah the son of Rabbi Hiyya, Amora, first generation, Eretz Yisrael], entered a synagogue. He left his sandals [outside the door] and [when he came back], they were gone [i.e., stolen]. Said he: had I not gone to the synagogue, my sandals would not have gone! (and cf. the reading in Yerushalmi Nezikin, ed. Rosenthal-Lieberman, p. 50).

Although some details of this story remain obscure, it teaches us incidentally that in Eretz Yisrael in the early third century, people used to leave their sandals outside the synagogue.

7. There was a widespread custom from the time of the Geonim until the time of Maimonides to wash the hands and feet before praying.

Prof. Naphtali Wieder collected the many references to this custom, from Sefer Hama’asim Livene Eretz Yisrael up until the day of Rabbi Avraham son of Maimonides in the 13th century. Wieder was of the opinion that the Jews adopted this custom from the Muslims. Prof Meir Bar-Ilan disagreed, claiming that the practice is already attested in Talmudic literature. In any case, one can assume that they washed their feet before praying because they prayed barefoot; indeed, after writing this I discovered that Rabbi Kasher had already made the same suggestion (p. 253). This is now borne out by the following source, first published in 1973.

8. This was the practice in medieval Egypt, as we learn from an ancient Eretz Yisrael siddur from the Cairo Genizah

Mordechai Margaliot, Hilkhot Eretz Yisrael Min Hagenizah, Jerusalem, 1973, pp. 131-132:

When wearing shoes or sandals – one must take them off outside and enter [the synagogue] barefoot, for it is the manner of slaves to go barefoot in the presence of a Master… for example, Moses and Joshua  were commanded: “Remove your shoes from your feet,”… If this is the case before flesh and blood, how much the more so before the King of Kings, blessed be He. And so said the Sages [in Mishnah Berakhot, above]: “One should not enter the Temple Mount with a staff, or with shoes on.” And although we no longer have the Temple Mount , due to our sins, we do have “the small temple” [=the synagogue], and we must act in holiness and reverence, as it is written (Lev. 19:30) “and revere My sanctuary”. This is why earlier generations installed in the courtyards of all synagogues, sinks with fresh water for washing hands and feet. But if one is fastidious or ill and cannot remove his shoes, and he walks carefully [i.e., not to step in dirty things] – we do not trouble him to take off his shoes.

Given that this siddur is from Egypt in the Middle Ages, it could be claimed that these customs are the result of Muslim influence. On the other hand, it is also possible that this is the continuation of the Biblical and Mishnaic practice of barefooted prayer, as maintained by the siddur’s author.

9. This was the practice in all Babylonian synagogues in the 12th century.

Rabbi Petahiah of Regensburg, one of the Tosafists, left Ashkenaz ca. 1175,  on a journey that took him to Turkey, Babylonia, Syria and Eretz Yisrael. The following is his description of the synagogues in Babylonia (ed. Grunhut, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1905, p.24; ed. Benisch, London, 1856, p. 44):

In Babylonia, there are thirty synagogues, besides that of Daniel… No one talks to his neighbor in the synagogue, for they stand decorously, and all are without shoes in the synagogue, barefooted.

Unlike the previous source, in this case, it’s hard to claim that we are looking at an Israeli custom influenced by the Talmud Yerushalmi. One can assume that the Muslim influence was at work here, given that Muslims pray barefooted. Indeed, they also pray without talking to each other, and “they stand decorously”.

10. The testimony of Rabbi Eshtori Hafarhi (Provence, Spain, Eretz Yisrael, 1280-1357)

Rabbi Eshtori Hafarhi reached Eretz Yisrael in the year 1313 and finished writing his book Kaftor Vaferah in Bet She’an in 1322. His book is filled with important testimony as to the customs of Eretz Yisrael in that period. In chapter 7 (ed. Jerusalem, 1997, vol. I, p. 150), he quotes the passage from Yerushalmi Bava Metzia quoted above, and adds: “This shows that their custom was like the custom in these countries, where they leave their shoes outside the entrance to the synagogue, unlike [the Jews of Europe]”.

11. This was the practice of the Yemenite Jews prior to their Aliyah.

Yemenite Jews are known for preserving ancient customs dating from Talmudic times. For example, they still recite the Hallel responsively, answering “Halleluyah” 123 times as described in Talmudic literature (see David Golinkin, Perek Yom Tov Shel Rosh Hashanah Babavli, Ph.D. dissertation, JTS, New York, 1988, pp. 368-373). Here is the testimony of Rabbi Yosef Kafih regarding the Yemenite custom of praying barefoot before they made Aliyah (Halikhot Teiman, third edition, Jerusalem, 1982 p. 64):

On one wall of the synagogue courtyard there were dozens of small lockers … each with its own little door with a lock. Each worshipper rents a locker from the synagogue officials for the purpose of stowing his shoes while he is sitting inside the synagogue, for they did not enter the synagogue wearing shoes on their feet; rather, each person removed his shoes in the courtyard and entered. The right to lease these lockers passes by inheritance from father to son. But guests, or other people who, for whatever reason, do not have their own locker, would leave their shoes in the courtyard before the entrance to the synagogue, trusting that “The remnant of Israel shall do no wrong” (Zephaniah 3:13), i.e., not steal the worshippers’ shoes.

In note 3 (ibid.) Rabbi Kafih refers to the above-mentioned passage in Yerushalmi Bava Metzia, thereby implying that the practice he describes is the continuation of the custom of the Jews of Israel in Talmudic times. More recently, Prof Zohar Amar described this Yemenite custom (Sefer Hahilukim Ben Benei Teiman Levein Benei Hatzafon, Neve Tsuf, 2017, p. 52, paragraph 177) without mentioning Rabbi Kafih.  After citing the passage from Yerushalmi Bava Metzia and several of the sources cited above, he adds: “So, lehavdil, is the practice of Muslims to this day”. In other words, he’s hinting that the Yemenite custom is the continuation of Biblical and Talmudic practice, not a custom which they adopted from their Muslim neighbors.

II)  Why were shoes removed in a holy place, in the Temple or the synagogue?

Prof. Ehrlich has suggested two explanations:

  1. In order to show that the Temple is separate and holy, they wanted to differentiate between walking around outside vs. walking within a holy place. This approach is expressed in Mishnah Berakhot and Sifre Devarim above, that one does not go into the Temple Mount with a staff or wearing shoes, or with a money belt, or with dusty feet.
  2. To express submissiveness in the presence of the Shekhinah and in the place of the Shekhinah. Indeed, Prof. Sarna relates (1986) that in ancient Egypt people would remove their footwear when in the presence of an exalted personage, especially the king. Muslims acted in the same manner in Algiers in the 15th century, as we learn from testimony of the Rashbash, quoted below. Prof. Gaster also suggested, inter alia, that we are dealing with a sign of submissiveness in the presence of an exalted being. In India, the lower castes would remove their shoes on a street belonging to the higher castes. Similarly, the Aztecs in Mexico would remove their shoes in the presence of their king, Montezuma.

III) Reasons to forbid being barefoot in the synagogue

1. A Tannaitic source implies that most people wore shoes in the synagogue.

Mishnah Megillah 4:8: “One who says: I will not pass before the ark to lead the prayer service in colored garments, may not pass before the ark to lead the prayer service even in white garments. If one says: I will not pass before the ark wearing sandals, he may not pass before it even barefoot”.

In other words, one who refuses to lead the Amidah wearing sandals is forbidden to lead at all. Krauss, Albeck, and Blidstein have suggested that such a person wanted to lead the prayers barefoot in synagogue just like in the Temple, as we have seen above, and this was opposed by the Mishnah  (Ehrlich,  p. 150). In any case, this source indicates that most worshippers in Eretz Yisrael at that time worshipped while wearing shoes or sandals.

2. In Babylonia, in general, wearing shoes was praised, and they opposed going barefoot.

This emerges from sources collected by Ya’akov Reifman 140 years ago (p. 78; followed by Ehrlich, p. 158; cf. Abrahams, Nacht and Krauss):

Shabbat 129a: “Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: One should always sell the beams of his house and purchase shoes for his feet…”

Shabbat 152a:  “One wearing shoes on his feet — is a human being…”

Pesahim 112a: “Our Sages have taught: Rabbi Akiva commanded Rabbi Yehoshua, his son, about seven matters… And do not withhold shoes from your feet…” 

Pesahim 113b: “Our Sages have taught: Seven are ostracized by Heaven… and one who withholds shoes from his feet.

Even though, at first glance, three of these sources are from Eretz Yisrael, only the second source – Shabbat 152a – has a parallel in a source from Eretz Yisrael (Kohelet Rabbah 10:7, ed. Vilna, fol. 26d). In other words, this is primarily a Babylonian approach.

3. The Iranians in the Talmudic period were also opposed to going barefoot 

Prof. Ehrlich quotes (p. 159, note 137) three such laws. Here is one of them: “The rule is that one should not walk without boots”.

4. In the famous Dura Europos synagogue dated to 244 C.E., nearly all the figures are depicted wearing sandals.

This famous synagogue was built in 244 C.E., only to be filled in with dirt twelve years later, in 256 C.E., when the residents tried to defend themselves against the invading Sasanian army. In most of the beautiful paintings, almost all of the figures are wearing sandals (Ehrlich, p. 151), with the exception of slaves and of Moses standing next to the Burning Bush. (See illustrations in the EJ article “Dura Europos”.)

I surmise that shoes were worn in Babylon for the simple reason that it is low country, with many rivers, canals, lakes and swamps (see, for example, Ta’anit 10a at bottom, and Pseudo-Rashi ibid.); it would have been hazardous or difficult to walk around barefoot in such terrain.

5. In Rava’s opinion, in Babylonia, shoes are permitted in the synagogue, in contradistinction to the Temple. 

The background above explains the approach of Rava (Babylonian Amora, fourth generation) concerning shoes in the synagogue: “Just as shoes, on the Temple Mount they are forbidden, in the synagogue they are permitted… rather Rava said: like his house, just as in his house, he will not let people use it as a short cut, but he does not mind spitting and shoes, so too in the synagogue, short cuts are forbidden, spitting and shoes are permitted (Berakhot 62b-63a).

In other words, in Rava’s opinion, it’s permissible to wear shoes in the synagogue, unlike in the Temple. This ruling was codified by Maimonides in Hilkhot Tefillah, 11:10 (but see below).

6. Rabbah bar Rav Huna, in Babylonia, used to put on shoes on before praying.

A brief story about Rabbah bar Rav Huna (Babylonia, third generation) is related in Shabbat 10a:

Rabbah bar Rav Huna would don puzmaki and pray. He said: “Prepare to greet your God, Israel!” (Amos 4:12)

The question is: what are puzmaki? Krauss (p. 248) thought that they were socks. But Rashi explained: “he puts important anfilaot on his feet and in La’az [=old French] caltzos”. Moshe Katan explained the French word in Rashi: “Chalcons, shoes of soft fabric” (Otzar Le’azei Rashi, Jerusalem, 1984, p. 7, No.  105). Similarly, Prof. Sokoloff explained (A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, Ramat Gan, 2002, pp.  894-895): puzmaki, “a type of shoe”.

7. Rishonim who opposed bare feet while praying and in the synagogue

The Tosafists (ibid., s.v. ramei puzmaki) ruled that the halakhah follows the practice of Rabbah bar Rav Huna: “This proves that it is forbidden to pray barefoot, except for Tisha B’av and Yom Kippur”. This ruling was quoted or paraphrased by Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel Ashkenai (1250-1298), in the Mordechai to tractate Shabbat, paragraph 226: “Would don puzmaki and pray – one should learn from here that one may not pray barefoot”.

Rabbi Yitzhak b”r Moshe of Vienna  (1180-1250) condemned praying barefoot in his Sefer Or Zarua (Shabbat, paragraph 84:12, Part II, fol. 20d):

And in France I saw גבורים walking barefoot on Shabbat and even in the synagogue and reading the Torah barefoot. Nevertheless, it’s not proper to walk barefoot, even on a weekday, as it says in Arvei Pesahim (113b): “Seven are ostracized by Heaven… and one who withholds shoes from his feet”. 

Ya’akov Reifman assumed (p. 80) that גבורים  = giborim, heroes or mighty ones, and he refers to the verse “giborei koah, mighty creatures who do His bidding” (Psalms 103:20), i.e., Jews who are “afraid of God’s word and are mighty to do it”.  Aside from the fact that this is an unusual interpretation of giborim, it does not make sense. Why would the pious and scrupulous Jews of France pray barefoot? I have a much simpler explanation. In certain dialects of Hebrew/Yiddish, the vowel kamatz is pronounced as “oo”. Until today, Galizianer Jews say “brookhe” instead of “brokhe” [a blessing]. Therefore, givurim = gevarim = men. In any case, Rabbi Yitzhak of Vienna did not oppose praying barefoot in synagogue because of Rabbah bar Rav Huna’s custom, but rather because of general opposition to going barefoot in the Babylonian Talmud.

Rabbi Moshe Mintz (Ashkenaz and Poland, 1415-1480) reports (Responsa Maharam Mintz, No. 38, ed. Machon Yerushalayim, 1991, pp. 149-150; mentioned briefly, with a significant error, in Magen Avraham to Orah Hayyim 91, subparagraph 5): “There are countries where they pray barefoot, without shoes. However, in these countries, it is not derekh eretz [proper, polite, respectful] to walk barefoot and it’s shameful, therefore, one does not remove one’s shoes.” In any case, in most synagogues there is metal or wood outside to clean one’s shoes. But since it’s impossible to clean sandals “because they are carved below”, he revived a takkanah [rabbinic enactment] that one should not wear sandals to the synagogue. We can extrapolate from Jeffrey Singman, that “sandals” were wooden overshoes that helped keep the shoes out of the mud. Similarly, Rabbi Domb wrote in his notes to this volume (note 13), that “sandals” were like today’s galoshes. (And cf. ibid., No. 81, p. 390)   

8. Aharonim opposed to praying barefoot in the synagogue

Rabbi Yehiel Michel Epstein (Novarodok, 1829-1908) wrote in his Arukh Hashulhan (Orah Hayyim 151:9): “And there are Muslim lands where they go to the synagogue barefooted, but this is not a good custom, and they learned this from the Muslims, and it should be abolished”.

IV)  It all depends on “people’s opinions and local custom”

1. Maimonides apparently ruled )Hilkhot Tefillah 5:5) in accordance with  Rabbah bar Rav Huna, but in such a way that Jews living in Muslim lands would be able to ignore his ruling:

Adjusting the clothing, how so?… And he should not stand in prayer in his money belt, nor with an uncovered head, nor with uncovered feet – if it’s the local custom not to stand in the presence of the great except in batei raglayim [=leg coverings].

Rabbi Ya’akov ben Asher copied the above passage in his Tur Orah Hayyim (end of paragraph 91), as did Rabbi Yosef Karo, in his Shulkhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim, 91:5. In his Kesef Mishneh on Maimonides, Rabbi Yosef Karo also explained Maimonides’ approach: the first part of the passage about uncovered feet is based on Rabbah bar Rav Huna in Shabbat 10a,(1) but the second sentence is intended “to exclude all Jews of Arab lands, who stand barefooted in the presence of great ones; they may pray barefoot or cover up their feet, and the same holds true for [other] places”. He adds in his Beit Yosef on the Tur: “Such was the practice of all in Muslim lands, to pray barefoot.” In other words, Rabbi Yosef Karo explains that Maimonides ruled that everything depends on local custom: in a place where it’s customary to stand before exalted people with covered feet, one should follow Rabbah bar Rav Huna; but elsewhere, such as in Muslim countries, it’s not obligatory to cover one’s feet.

2. An excellent explanation of this approach was given by Rabbi Shlomo ben Shimon Duran (Algiers, 1400-1467; Responsa Rashbash, No. 285). He was asked by a congregation which wanted to enact “that a person should not enter the synagogue wearing shoes, due to the scorn heaped upon us by Muslims”. His responsum expresses a sociological approach to our issue:

And true respect and disrespect are according to people’s opinions and local customs… And behold in Christian lands, where there is no disrespect when a person enters even before their king with shoes, if they enter with shoes in a synagogue in their city it’s not disrespect. But in these lands, where it’s disrespectful to enter before their exalted ones, and how much the more so before their king, with shoes, it’s forbidden to enter the synagogue in their cities with shoes by the logic of kal vahomer, if one may not do this before a king of flesh and blood, before the King of Kings the Holy One blessed be He, how much the more so!

Indeed, the Rashbash repeats this explanation twice more in his responsum.

3.  This sociological approach to our topic was later adopted by the Hida (Rabbi Hayyim Yosef David Azulai, Eretz Yisrael and Italy, d. 1806) in his Birkei Yosef to Orah Hayyim 91, paragraph 5, s.v. vegam meihatam; by Rabbi Yosef Mashash (Morocco and Haifa, 1892-1974), Responsa Mayim Hayyim, Part 1, No. 58; and by Rabbi Ovadiah Hadaya (Syria and Eretz Yisrael, 1889-1969), Responsa Yaskil Avdi, Part 7, No. 10, paragraph 9.

V) Summary and Practical Halakhah

It would seem that the scales are balanced. On the one hand, one could rule according to the Bible, the Tannaitic sources, the Talmud Yerushalmi, and the precedents cited above, from the Genizah, Babylonia, Eretz Yisrael and Yemen that it’s preferable to pray barefoot. On the other hand, one could rule according to Rabbah bar Rav Huna and the Poskim of Ashkenaz that one must pray in shoes and, moreover, that praying barefoot smacks of hukkot hagoyim [the laws of the Gentiles], which we adopted from the Muslims. However, I believe that the preferable approach is that of the Rambam as elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Karo and that of the Rashbash. Respect and disrespect vis-à-vis clothing depends on “people’s opinions and local custom”. In Muslim countries and the Far East, one shows respect by removing one’s shoes; in Europe and the West, respect is shown by wearing shoes.

Personally, I wear shoes in public and slippers at home; I have never walked around barefoot. I could not imagine attending synagogue barefoot. However, it could be that in certain social settings, such as a kibbutz or a summer camp or a Havurah of young people who have spent a lot of time in the Far East, they show respect by removing their shoes. Indeed, the same holds true for other clothing-related halakhot, such as head-covering for a mourner, which was obligatory in Talmudic times and discontinued in most Jewish communities as a result of societal changes (Yitzhak Zimmer, Olam Keminhago Noheig, Jerusalem, 1996, pp. 191-210) and head-covering for men, which underwent constant change as a result of Jewish migrations (Rabbi David Frankel, Teshuvot Va’ad Hahalakhah Shel Knesset  Harabbanim B’yisrael 6 [1995-1998], pp. 39-57). Thus, every congregational rabbi — or religious committee, where there is no rabbi – must decide on the appropriate behavior for that particular congregation.

David Golinkin

Jerusalem

12 Menahem Av 5780

Notes

  1. Hagahot Maimoniot ad loc. (subparagraph 9 in most editions; 8 in the Shabetai Frankel edition), which is also quoted in the Kesef Mishneh cited above, wrote that the source for this sentence in the Rambam is Hagigah 13b at bottom in an Aggadic passage about angels: “His legs – it’s not proper to reveal before his Master”. Indeed, this source was accepted by many, including Rabbi Shmuel Tanhum Rubinstein in Rambam La’am ad loc. and Rabbi Nahum Rabinowitz, Responsa Si’ah Nahum, Ma’aleh Adumim, 2008, No. 5 in a responsum regarding prayer in short pants. I, however, am not convinced, since the Rambam did not believe in physical angels – see his Guide II:6-7. Thus, I find it hard to believe that he gave a halakhic ruling based on an Aggadah which maintains that angels covered their legs before God.

Bibliography

Abrahams – Israel Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, New York, 1969, p. 289

Ashkenazi – Shlomo Ashkenazi, Dor Dor Uminhagav, second edition, Tel Aviv, 1987, Chapter 12

Azulai – Rabbi Hayyim Yosef David Azulai, Hahida, Birkei Yosef to Orah Hayyim 91: 4-5; and 151:8

Bar-Ilan – Meir Bar-Ilan, “Rehitzat Raglayim Lifnei Hatefillah”, Mahanayim 1 (5752), pp. 162-169

Dictionary — The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4, Nashville, 1962, p. 213, s.v. Sandals and shoes

Dura-Europos — Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 6, cols. 275-298, s.v. Dura-Europos

Ehrlich – Uri Ehrlich, Kol Atzmotai Tomarna: Hasafah Halo Milulit Shel Hatefillah, Jerusalem, 1999, pp. 148-162

Gaster — Theodor Gaster, Myth, Legend and Custom in the Old Testament, Vol. I, Gloucester, Mass., 1981, pp. 231-232, 382-383

Hadaya – Rabbi Ovadiah Hadaya, Responsa Yaskil Avdi, Part 7, No. 10, paragraph 9

Kasher – Rabbi M.M. Kasher, Torah Shleimah, second edition, Part 8, New York, 1954, pp. 128-129, 251-253

Krauss – Shmuel Krauss, Kadmoniot Hatalmud, II, 2, Tel Aviv, 1945, pp. 243-244, 248

Mashash (Messas) – Rabbi Yosef Mashash, Responsa Mayim Hayyim, Part 1, Fez, 1934, No. 58

Nacht — Jacob Nacht, “The Symbolism of the Shoe with Special Reference to Jewish Sources”, JQR new series 6 (1915), pp. 1-22

Nacht — Jakob Nacht, “Der Fuss”, Jahrbuch fur Judische Volkskunde 25 (1923), pp. 137-139

Reifmann – Ya’akov Reifmann, “Holeikh Yahef”, Bet Talmud 1 (5641/1881), pp. 78-80

Sarna — Nahum Sarna, Exploring Exodus, New York, 1986, pp. 39-40 and 225

Sarna — Nahum Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus, Philadelphia and New York, 1991, p. 15 and p. 240, note 16

Singman – Jeffrey Singman, Daily Life in Medieval Europe, Westport, Conn. and London, 1999, p. 43

Sofer – Rabbi Ya’akov Hayyim Sofer, Kaf Hahayyim to Orah Hayyim 91, paragraphs 22-25

Stern – Ephraim Stern, Entziklopedia Mikra’it, Vol. 5, Jerusalem, 1968, cols. 890-891, s.v. Na’al

Wieder – Naphtali Wieder, Hashpaot Islamiot Al Hapulhan Hayehudi, Oxford, 1947 = Hitgabshut Nusah Hatefillah Bamizrah U’bama’arav: Kovetz Ma’amarim, Jerusalem, 1998, pp. 664-676

Yosef – Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, Part 2, Jerusalem, 1990, p. 260; She’erit Yosef, Part 2, Jerusalem, 1996, pp. 367-368


All four volumes of Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin’s Responsa In A Moment – Halakhic Responses to Contemporary Issues as well as other books by the author are available for purchase from the Schocken-JTS Press Bookstore.

David Golinkin is President of The Schechter Institutes, Inc. and President Emeritus of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. For twenty years he served as Chair of the Va’ad Halakhah (Law Committee) of the Rabbinical Assembly which gives halakhic guidance to the Masorti Movement in Israel. He is the founder and director of the Institute of Applied Halakhah at Schechter and also directs the Center for Women in Jewish Law. Rabbi Professor Golinkin made aliyah in 1972, earning a BA in Jewish History and two teaching certificates from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received an MA in Rabbinics and a PhD in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he was also ordained as Rabbi. For a complete bio click here.

Join our mailing list

Sign up to our newsletter for the newest articles, events and updates.




    * We hate spam too! And will never share or sell your email or contact information with anyone

    Skip to content