Shoes That Do Not Wear Out – Spiritual Story by Rabbi Allen Maller

David the shoemaker was surprised when the king's messenger entered his shop. And he was shocked when he was ordered to make a pair of Jewish shoes for the king.

David protested. There is no such thing as Jewish shoes. There is a Jewish hat called a yarmukah, and there is a Jewish shawl called a tallit, but there are no Jewish shoes.

Yes there are insisted the messenger. The king knows there are jewish shoes. You can wear them for more than 40 years and the soles do not wear out.

That is impossible David replied. I make very good shoes but they only last for a few years, unless you only wear them a few times a year. If the king wants shoes that he can wear daily for 40 years I will have to make soles out of iron.

No good said the messenger. Iron shoes are to heavy.

David said he could make them out of aluminum.

No good! They would be lite, but too stiff.

I could make them with six inch thick rubber soles.

No good! The king would be too tall. He would fall over if he walked to fast.

Then I can't make them.

The messenger insisted that David make a pair of long lasting, 40 year, Jewish shoes for the king or David would find himself in jail for 40 years.

David began to cry. I do not know how to make shoes that do not wear out.

Arn't you a jew asked the messenger. David nodded. Then you should know how to make Jewish shoes said the messenger. The king says it is written in the jewish torah. He took a piece of paper out of his pocket and read, “The book of Deuteronomy chapter 29 verse 5″.

David cried louder. I don't know what is written in the torah. I only studied torah for a few years when I was a small child . I never studied torah when I was an adult. Does the torah explain how to make shoes that do not wear out?

The messenger shook his head; no

Then it is a miracle said David. That is not good. I also don't know how to explain miracles. I need a rabbi. Please let me get a rabbi to help me.

The king's messenger said the shoemaker should come to the the king's court in three days with the rabbi, or the Jewish shoes. Or else he could go directly to jail.

As soon as the messenger left, David started seeking a rabbi. However, since David didn't belong to a congregation it took him two days until he found a rabbi to accompany him to the king's court.

The rabbi praised the king for studying the torah. Moses did indeed tell the Jewish people that during the 40 years that their parents were in the sinai desert their shoes did not wear out.

Those are the kind of shoes I want the king said.

O.K. Replied the rabbi. But first we have to prepare your feet so that they do not wear out before the soles do. You are a king so why should you have to walk so much. For the next two months when ever you are sitting, instead of getting up and walking someplace, you should command your servants to pick up your chair and carry you to the place you want to go. We will return in two months and your Jewish shoes will be 50% ready.

When they returned two months later the rabbi asked the king to walk together with him in the garden. After a few minuets the king complained that his feet hurt. His leg muscles had gotten weak because he hadn't been using them.

The rabbi nodded wisely and said that for the next month the king should exercise each day. In the second month the king should carry sick or very old people to any place they need to go. If you do this, when we meet again you will have your Jewish shoes.

When the rabbi returned he asked the king how his feet were. My feet are great replied the king. They are stronger than they have ever been.

The rabbi smiled and said to the king,” now you can understand what Moses said in the torah. Some things ware out when they are used a lot. Other things get stronger the more you use them. Muscles get stronger with more use. The more you love the more you can love. The same is true for faith and trust. The old shoes that you love, that fit you so well, you keep. The ones you don't wear much, are the ones you throw away. The well read, worn out book you keep. The one that is untouched you give away. If you want Jewish shoes or a Jewish soul for your feet: give more to others. With giving, the more you give, the more you have.

I understand said the king and he smiled. I too understand said David the shoemaker. I am proud of our torah, and I am going to study torah every day. I will make less shoes and soles on my last, and through torah study and doing mitsvot for other people, I will make my own soul last longer.

Rabbi Maller's web site is rabbimaller.Com

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