By COLlive reporter
A new halachic ruling by a leader of the Israeli Litvish groups banning Crocs on Yom Kippur has caused much talk among religious Jews.
Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv of Jerusalem has ruled that it is best not to wear Crocs slippers on the fast day even though they are non-leather and therefore, are seemingly permissible.
Ynetnews.com reported that his reasoning behind the ruling is that they are too comfortable, and thus don’t provide the level of suffering one should feel on the holiday.
His ruling will create a challenge this year for his students, many of whom have chosen in recent years to wear Crocs on Yom Kippur.
But halachic authorities in North America who have spoken to COLlive.com after hearing this ruling seem to differ on this opinion.
Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, a Crown Heights Rov who tends to be strict at times, said he understood the background of the ruling.
“It’s a general question whether a comfortable shoe is allowed on Yom Kippur,” he said.
“But this has nothing to do with Crocs per say. The same doubt exists concerning Nike sneakers or any other non-leather footwear which is made for comfort,” Bogomilsky concluded.
Rabbi Dovid Rafael Banon, Chief Rabbi of Chomedey and member of the Montreal Bais Din, agreed with Bogomilsky.
“The prohibition of not wearing leather was not only about comfort,” he told COLlive. “In those days it was about luxury and prestige.”
“Today you can wear a non-leather sport shoe which is very comfortable too. So I don’t see how Crocs are any different.”
Rabbi Gavriel Zinner of Boro Park, author of the 26 volume Nitei Gavriel halacha series, said there was an additional issue.
“The Rambam says that the idea (of a non-leather shoe) is to feel the floor,” he explains.
But practically speaking, Rabbi Zinner says: “If someone wishes to be lenient – he could.”