Rav Avigdor Miller on Why We Need Shoes

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Q:

Why did Hashem make it so that people need to wear shoes while animals don’t? 

A:

Now it’s not a question of wearing shoes alone. People need many things that animals don’t. A cat can go to the gutter and drink the water. You can’t do that. Cats don’t wear glasses either.

Human beings need many things for a purpose. And the purpose is that they should have to ask Hashem to help them. The purpose is to cry out to Hashem, “Hashem help me.” If a person would be like a cat he would be able to dispense with needing very many things but Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants him to be stimulated to cry out. That’s why we have illnesses that animals don’t have – so that we should cry out to Hashem. And then when we get better so that we should cry out to Him in gratitude.

That’s why we need garments. We cry out to Hashem, “Hashem I need a garment.” And then when you get a garment you have to thank Hashem for it. But suppose fur grew on you and you never had to buy anything; you wouldn’t say malbish arumim. 

Now I’m afraid to say it, but today it could be that even when you say that brachah you don’t think what you’re saying. We say malbush arumim every day, “He clothes the naked.” Do you stop to think? You have to think. Look how wonderful it is. You have buttonholes here with a seam around it. You have buttons here. You have pockets that have a lining. This cloth is a wonderful contrivance. It’s wool twisted into thread, and thread is spun and it’s woven on looms. It’s marvelous. And it’s also colored, black or whatever color it is. No matter how much you’ll put in effort, you haven’t fulfilled the full gratitude for your garments. When you study your garments you become more and more happy with them, and that’s all included in malbish arumim. That’s why Hashem gave us the garments and He didn’t give us a fur coat to grow on our skin. 

That’s why you need everything. Human beings need more things than animals and human beings are susceptible to more illnesses than animals in order they should cry out to Hashem. That’s the purpose. It’s a big fundamental principle. Our purpose in life is to be reminded of Hashem, and the things that we need remind us of Hashem.

TAPE # 898 (November 1992)

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