We begin on דף ק״ב עמוּד א, seven lines from the top, continuing with the particulars of the חַלִיצָה process, their participants and judges, and the signature accoutrement of the laced soft leather sandal:
אָמַר רַבָּה אָמַר רַב כָּהֲנָא אָמַר רַב: אִם יָבֹא אֵלִיָּהוּ וְיֹאמַר: ״חוֹלְצִין בְּמִנְעָל״ — שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. ״אֵין חוֹלְצִין בְּסַנְדָּל״ — אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ, שֶׁכְּבָר נָהֲגוּ הָעָם בְּסַנְדָּל
Rabba said that Rav Kahana said that Rav said: If אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא should come and say: One may perform חַלִיצָה using a soft leather shoe (מִנְעָל), the Rabbis would listen to him. But if he says: One may not perform חַלִיצָה using a hard leather sandal, they would not listen to him, for the people already have established the practice of performing חַלִיצָה using a sandal.
וְרַב יוֹסֵף אָמַר רַב כָּהֲנָא אָמַר רַב: אִם יָבֹא אֵלִיָּהוּ וְיֹאמַר: ״אֵין חוֹלְצִין בְּמִנְעָל״ — שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. ״אֵין חוֹלְצִין בְּסַנְדָּל״ — אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ, שֶׁכְּבָר נָהֲגוּ הָעָם בְּסַנְדָּל
Rav Yosef said that Rav Kahana told him something different in the hame of Rav: If אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא should come and say: One may not perform חַלִיצָה using a soft leather shoe, the Rabbis would listen to him. But if he says: One may not perform חַלִיצָה using a hard leather sandal, they would not listen to him, for the people already have established the practice of performing חַלִיצָה using a sandal.
What’s the difference between these two versions? מַאי בֵּינַיְיהוּ? אִיכָּא בֵּינַיְיהוּ מִנְעָל לְכַתְּחִלָּה – Rabba says until אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא comes (there may be some scheduling delays around Pesach Seder time), you can use a soft leather shoe לְכַתְּחִלָּה. Rav Yosef says it should be a hard leather shoe לְכַתְּחִלָּה until until אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא comes and teaches us otherwise.
Several halachic details pertaining to this shoe: a shoe stitched with linen cannot be used for חַלִיצָה and according to majority of “Rishonim” all the shoe’s stitches and laces must be made of leather [therefore, buttonholes and hooks are made of leather]. The shoe must fit the foot tightly and not be tattered [i. e., it must wrap the foot well and not be easily removed]; therefore tying straps are added. The shoe itself must be made of black leather and tying straps of white leather. The shoe should be crafted to fit the right foot [to prevent mistakenly removing shoe from left foot]. Each Beis Din must own a חַלִיצָה shoe and it is one of the objects which “Dayanim” must possess. The shoe must belong to brother of deceased childless husband and Beis Din grants him the shoe as a gift which he later returns. In fact, a חַלִיצָה shoe is rare, since very few “Batei Din” deal with חַלִיצָה whose laws are numerous and complex.
The halachic tradition of craftsmanship of a חַלִיצָה shoe provides an authentic historical source of preserving the structure of shoes as crafted and stitched during period of the Mishnah and earlier. There is an elaborate set of photos of it in our picture book on pages 295 and 296.
The Gemara then discusses the act of חַלִיצָה itself. By the way, Wikipedia, of all places has a very nice review of the chalitzah process, and WebShas has an overview of the construction of the shoe itself. The yevama herself must remove the shoe, and there is discussion in the Gemara about the validity of the act if she damaged the shoe in the process.
Warning: don’t play the Steve Martin two minute YouTube audio clip below if you are easily offended. It is from his 1978 album, A Wild & Crazy Guy, featuring a character based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches in which Martin and Dan Aykroyd played the Festrunk Brothers, Yortuk and Georgi who were bumbling Czechoslovak would-be playboys.
My intent in including here is certainly not to be sacrilegious, but to note that the first time I heard Martin do “I break with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee” in conjunction with the shoe routine I couldn’t help but think that he was somehow, directly or indirectly, exposed by someone to the chalitzah process.
In any event, that was comic relief, and I leave you now in the hands of Rabbi Stern to review the serious side of the Gemara.