Chazal (berachos 54a and 62b) tell us that one cannot come in to the Temple with a walking stick or shoes. The gemara (ibid) explains that wearing shoes is a sign of disrespect for the holiness of the place. However in Song of Songs (7:2) it seems to indicate otherwise.

The first half of verse 7:2 states:

How fair are your feet in sandals, O daughter of nobles!

Rashi explains that the nations are praising the Jews for being olah l'regel while wearing sandals:

How fair are your feet: in the festive pilgrimages, O daughter of princes!

How do we resolve these two ways of viewing wearing shoes?

Furthermore, the gemara does not explain the problem with the walking stick. Would it stem from a similar lack of respect, or is there another reason it is prohibited?

  • 1
    How does the pasuk suggest that the shoes were worn in the Temple?
    – Fred
    May 9 '12 at 20:46
  • 1
    Might I suggest you split this into two questions, one about the contradiction from Shir Hashirim and the other about why a walking stick is forbidden? They seem rather disparate.
    – msh210
    May 9 '12 at 21:47
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    I think you might be incorrectly importing the sandals from the mashal to the nimshal. According to Rashi, the feet are a mashal for the foot-pilgrimages to the Temple, and the sandals are, it seems, a mashal for the "esteem" in which these pilgrimages took place. Thus, the sandals are part of the mashal, while the pilgrimages are part of the nimshal.
    – Isaac Moses
    May 9 '12 at 21:49
  • what about a wallet? Why would they not be able to wear a wallet in the Temple.
    – Menachem
    May 10 '12 at 5:03

I've always assumed that Rashi means that the trek to Jerusalem was made in sandals. (Indeed, that is one time when everyone would need sandals.) They were forbidden in the Temple itself.

No source, though.

  • That's what makes sense to me. The walk (pilgrimage) was done in sandals. Once they got to the Temple, they removed their shoes.
    – Menachem
    May 10 '12 at 5:03

No source, but it makes sense to me that the reason one was not to carry a walking stick in the Holy Temple is the same reason the Jews were told to eat the first Pascal Lamb (Exodus 12:11):

  1. And this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste it is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord.

As Rashi explains, eating with girded loins, shod feet, and staff in hand shows they were ready to leave as soon as possible.

It is disrespectful to walk into the Temple holding your walking stick as if you can't wait to get out of there. This is similar to the halacha (Brachot 6B) which forbids running when leaving a synagogue, since it indicates you couldn't wait to leave. [See also Rashi on Brachot 8A, who explains that one must enter the synagogue at least two door lengths since if one sits right at the door it makes it look like the synagogue is a burden and he's ready to leave in a hurry]

  • Also, it makes the Temple feel like a marketplace.
    – Double AA
    May 10 '12 at 5:12
  • @DoubleAA: which would explain why a wallet was also forbidden. Do you have a source for this idea?
    – Menachem
    May 11 '12 at 19:06

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