Religion & Beliefs

The Transcendence of Buying Shoes

The first time I remember being stunned was at Arnold’s Shoe Store. I went there for the gumball machine which apparently only disgorged my favorite redshots after I had spent a lot of money. My parents took me there because … Read More

By / October 21, 2008

The first time I remember being stunned was at Arnold’s Shoe Store. I went there for the gumball machine which apparently only disgorged my favorite redshots after I had spent a lot of money. My parents took me there because it was the only place they could find shoes for me. Diagnosed with a muscular problem they called cerebral palsy (though my case was thankfully mild) I had feet that were 2 ½ -3 sizes different, so the shoes had to be specially ordered. When I was eleven years old, the salesman announced that my feet had grown to within a half size of each other and I could buy a pair of shoes right out of the box. No waiting. How did that happen? My parents had been told that I might never walk and now I had two feet that worked awfully well together. No one could explain it, but I felt like there was a transcendent force that was saying to me, "I’m going to make you whole, make sure you will be okay." I have been stunned ever since. When each of my children was born, I was stunned. I am stunned by evolution, natural selection and gravity. I am stunned by human resiliency. This week we celebrate Simchat Torah and will begin again our journey through Torah, our rediscovery of the incredible relationship between us and God. For close to four thousand years, those who hate us have marginalized, excluded, exiled or exterminated us. They often wanted to consign us to the dustbin of history. We wouldn’t go down, wouldn’t be defeated.

Close to four thousand years ago, God promised that through it all we would be an eternal people. Here we are and that stuns me too. It’s all the proof I need that God lives and cares about us. My new book, What God Can Do for You Now: For Seekers Who Want to Believe, is my story, but it can be your story as well. Keep an open mind and with any luck, you can feel stunned again too.

Rabbi Robert Levine, author of What God Can Do for You Now, is guest-blogging on Jewcy, and he’ll be here all week.  Stay tuned.