Here’s a seemingly random and insignificant thought (but I think interesting and one I contemplate every time I enter my shul): why aren’t Jews the ones who remove their shoes before entering a synagogue?

Muslims do it?
Asians do it?
Jews, however, wouldn’t be caught dead in socks or barefoot in their synagogues, Temples or shuls.

Why not? After all, we read in the Torah: “Do not come any closer,” God says to Moses. “Take off your shoes, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5).

On many levels it makes a lot of sense.

  1. It seems to be a natural response throughout history to the presence of God or the notion of prayer.
  2. According to tests, the bottom’s of shoes contain some 66 million organisms – more than toilet seats.
  3. Beyond the yuck factor, it just seems like good Feng Shui – dirty shoes, dirty energy – fundamental Feng Shul if you ask me.
  4. The Torah says so.
  5. It is so much more comfy than most of the shoes we show up in to shul.

Alas, it’s not the Jewish way, not part of our culture. Still, maybe we’ll try it out, make it an offering next week at our Synaplex Shabbat.

Rabbi B

RabbiB.com

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