Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Kavod ha'Bri'os and Shabbos

I heard a nice vort on perspective from my rabbi in Dallas over 20 years ago: When you are 20 you are worried about what everyone thinks of you.  When you are 30 you are above having petty concerns for what everybody thinks of you.  When you are 40 you realize that no one is really thinking of you.  As true as that is, there is one exception.  Namely, when you make a mistake or do something silly, the people who most couldn't care less about you all of the sudden sit up and take notice.  As noted in Carrying vs Wearing on Shabbos, Chazal were concerned about that.  As much as one should not be concerned about low people snickering behind his back (but loud enough for him to hear), we are concerned.  Moreover, the stakes are very high because we are at risk of a d'oraisa Shabbos violation.

The Shulchan Aruch therefore paskens (OC 301:7) that one may not go out wearing only one shoe unless you have a sore on your foot.  If you have a sore on one foot, however, you may go out with a shoe on the other foot.  The reasoning is that it is too painful to wear the shoe over the sore and everyone will realize you have a sore on your foot and so won't make fun of you.  The Biur Halacha, however, notes that the m'chaberis paskening like Chiya bar Rav in the g'mara.  Rav Huna, however, argues and holds that you may only go out with one shoe if it is on the foot which does have the sore.  (Presumably, in that case, you won't take the shoe off even if someone does make fun of you because you need to protect the sore.)

The fact that the m'chaber chooses a side in the machlokes and paskens according to that opinion without even mentioning that there is a machlokes is no surprise.  That, after all, is the job of the Shulchan Aruch.  So why is the Biur Halacha bringing up the issue?  Well... there are other acharonim who pasken like Rav Huna.  Even more than that, the G"ra brings a proof to Rav Huna from the Yerushalmi.  While we "don't pasken" like the Yerushalmi; that is only when the Yerushalmi argues on the Bavli.  When the Bavli leaves something as a machlokes, though, we often use the Yerushalmi to resolve the conflict.  That being the case, the Biur Halacha paskens it is better to go barefoot on Shabbos than to wear only one shoe on either foot.

You may never have the occasion to have a sore on only one foot that is so bad you can't fit a shoe over, or so much want to go barefoot that you would like to wear a shoe only over the sore.  However, the idea that being made fun of could make a person forget himself and transgress Shabbos at the d'oraisa level is mind boggling.  Chazal did not say, "Hey!  Get over yourself and ignore the stupid remarks of low people."  Rather, they took the feelings of that one Jew absolutely seriously and made a decree to protect him.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but a thoughtless word can destroy an eternity.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…