| Musings |

Perfect Shabbos Shoes 

Really, have you ever seen anything as endearing in your life?


love Shabbos shoes.

A little girl could be dressed in a beautiful linen summer dress, she could have soft curls flowing over her shoulders with a neat lace bow tied in her hair. She could even be wearing a pretty necklace and bracelet. But it’s only when her little feet are snapped into the daintiest pair of Mary Janes that your heart simply melts.

Really, have you ever seen anything as endearing in your life?

Okay, I don’t only love Shabbos shoes. I love Perfect. Perfect schedules, perfect closets, perfectly precious dainty-Shabbos-shoes-clad kids. (Also perfectly well-behaved ones, obviously.)

I’m pretty sure I spend double the amount of time, energy, thought, and almost definitely money on little girls’ Shabbos shoes than I do on their entire wardrobes. (Okay, minus hosiery. I advise everyone to buy stock in frum-brand hosiery — it’s the next S&P 500.)

Finally holding that tiny, perfect shoe in my hand, staring at the classy wing-tip pattern, I can’t help but sigh.

Mah rabu maasecha Hashem, seriously.

And then the big day arrives. It’s Yom Tov. (Not Pesach, because as much as I have a weakness for little girls’ cuteness, I can’t bring myself to dress them in white linens when it’s 47.5 degrees outside.)

So Shavuos it is. (Sorry, kiddos, I know we’re allowed to wear new shoes during Sefirah, especially on Shabbos, but please, delayed gratification, plus, you know, perfect… We save the grand debut for Yom Tov.)

So it’s finally Yom Tov, and of course we don’t put on those shoes at night — kids that age go straight into pajamas after their bath and into bed after lichtbentshen. But the next morning, ahhhh. Out comes the woodsy-scented shoe box, fingers crinkle through tissue paper and extract that pair of sheer beauty.

The linen dress is buttoned up.

The hair is tied in a bow, curls cascading over shoulders.

The necklace and bracelet are ceremoniously affixed.

And the shoes — the shooooooes — go on.

The sight is just… perfect.

I’m supposed to be setting the table for the much anticipated Shavuos Kiddush, but as I’m laying out a display of cheese florets, I have one eye peeled on the little beaut. I’m for sure getting sechar for not taking pictures.

And that’s how, with one eye peeled for my little princess, I notice, through the dining room window, how she mounts a bike — that evil no-pedal toddler bike, the one that only operates by the kid scraping her foot across the asphalt

Uh, you heard that screech? No, no, it wasn’t me, not at all, please, it was just… the kid. Squealing. In delight, you know.

A cheese floret is still clenched between my fingers as I whiz out the door and grab the little girl. A passerby may think I’m rescuing the kid from immediate danger, but I don’t notice any passerby, I don’t even realize when the “rescued” kid sneaks the cheese floret out of my hand and stuffs it in her mouth.

All I notice are the two oval “designs” — the fronts of those endearing Mary Janes where the finest of leathers used to be, until 90 seconds ago.

I stand there, numb with shock. I gape. The holes in the shoes gape back, almost bored looking.

They tease me. They test me. The fronts of the shoes mutter through their newfound mouths. You are perfect, are you not?

You set the stage, but you can’t play all the roles.

We are stronger.

We are faster.

We have a voice. We are louder.

We are perfectly torn.

I close my ears to their stupid logic. My heart is so fiercely saddened, I can’t even bring myself to properly rebuke the girl. All I can do in my state of grief is march her off to the shoe rack, tear those Mary Janes off, and command her feet into…


Now these aren’t just any Crocs.

Today, Crocs are the broad term for Crocs, Natives, Floafers, or a knockoff of any of the above. But in this case, we’re talking real Crocs. Not the shoe style, not slides, not even the original clogs design. I’m talking about a pair of hot pink Crocs, with a strap, and a big jelly flower in the front.

A pair of Crocs that was popular when the kid’s oldest sister was her age. And not one moment longer, for good reason.

Don’t ask me why we even still owned the pair. Probably as a spare, to send along for swimming in day camp. Even for that occasion, these Crocs are embarrassing.

And yet, the kid had outgrown her own pair before Yom Tov, and I hadn’t gotten around to buying her sensible Floafers.

Alas, for the remainder of the Yom Tov, that lovely pair of Crocs remain on her feet.

And the shoes.

Ay, the shoes.

They’re so, so pretty. They sit prettily on her closet shelf, peeled fronts and all.

And next year, I will do the same thing again.

I will buy gorgeous Shabbos shoes.

But I’ll be smarter. I’ll have learned. I won’t let her wear them. Not even for those 90 seconds.

It’s going to be perfect.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 798)

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