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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 74-75 (page 215)
 מסעיף ה עד סימן עה אמצע סעיף א ויש אומרים

Mandatory Clothing for a Man
Mandatory Clothing for a Woman
Closing One's Eyes to Avoid Seeing an Ervah

Mandatory clothing for a man
When davening Shemoneh Esrei one must be attired in a distinguished manner, as befitting one who is standing before a king, and it is forbidden to recite the Amidah while incompletely dressed. Ideally, one should dress properly for kriyas Shema and berachos (and possibly Torah study) as well. This is in addition to the general requirement of tzinius clothing, which mandates that a man be properly covered at all times. A person is always before Hashem, whose honor fills the world.
( סימן עד, סעיף ו וס"ק כא, כב ו־כד; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 27)

Mandatory clothing for a woman
A woman's body must be covered at all times, except for her face and her arms below the elbows. (It is proper that she cover her arms a little below the elbow as well.) She must cover her body even in places where the local women are accustomed to revealing parts of the body (e.g. arms or legs). There are places where Jewish women used to go barefoot in public, but since this is not done any more, women are not permitted to appear in public that way today. It is permissible for women to go barefoot in the privacy of their homes.
( סימן עה, ס"ק ב ושעה"צ ס"ק ה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 6 ו־10; וראה שם, 5 ו־7)
Closing one's eyes to avoid seeing an ervah
It is forbidden to recite a davar sh'bekedusha in the presence of a woman if an area of her body that should be covered is revealed more than a tefach. According to some poskim, this applies to a girl over three years old. Other poskim hold that there is no precise age for the application of this rule, and that it depends instead on whether or not the girl appears womanly. According to most poskim, it is not enough to simply close one's eyes in the presences of an ervah; one is required to turn his head away to face a completely different direction. Other poskim permit reciting a davar sh'bekedusha with closed eyes in such circumstances, and it is possible to rely on this opinion when necessary. According to the second opinion, it is certainly permissible to close one's eyes if one is reciting Torah without mentioning Hashem's name.
( סימן עה, סעיף א, ס"ק א-ב, וביה"ל ד"ה טפח וד"ה במקום; וראה דברי הרמ"א שם וס"ק ה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 2, 4 ו־15)

  • Someone standing in clear water can recite a davar sh'bekedusha if his eyes are directed so that he cannot see the ervah. If his chest is also in the water, he must cover his chest or somehow divide between his heart and ervah.
  • Jewish males are required to cover their heads at all times, and this is particularly important when reciting a davar sh'bekedusha or when sitting in a shul.
  • Someone who touched parts of the body that are ordinarily kept covered must wash his hands. The poskim discuss whether this is necessary if those parts are clean (e.g. just after a shower) or if he is standing in the water with his hands on those parts.

  • Must a woman cover her hair at home?

  • Is it acceptable to cover one's head with a wig?

  • Gazing at a woman


PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.