Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Over Exposed: Modest Attire for Tefillah

A Shatz Wearing Shorts

I was once praying in an Ashkenazi shul in the United States. That morning, the person who had been chosen to be the shaliach tzibbur was wearing knee-length khaki shorts. The congregants in that particular shul were very liberal and accepting, and no one seemed to have a problem with his attire or lack thereof.

However, a few minutes after the prayers had begun, a Sephardi congregant walked in. This man, a product of a different generation and culture, saw the prayer leader wearing shorts, and he was furious. He vociferously protested what was going on, but his pleas were disregarded by the rabbi and the other congregants.

After tefillah, the angry congregant came up to me with the following reproof: “Rabbi, how could you let that man pray? This is a shul, and that man was dressed like he was on the beach!”

Let us not allow this man’s passions to go for naught, and try to understand the proper attire for prayer.

Casual Dress

Chazal tell us, “One may not recite Shemoneh Esrei until he covers his chest” (Berachos 24b). During tefillah, one must view himself as if he were standing and speaking before a king. Therefore, he may not dress in a disrespectful manner (Rashi, ibid.).

From the Gemara, it would seem that it is sufficient to cover one’s chest. However, no sane person would stand in front of a distinguished person not fully clothed. Therefore, the halachah is that one must have his arms and legs covered when praying Shemoneh Esrei (Bach 91,3).

Even someone who regularly wears shorts should make every effort to put on pants that cover his legs entirely, for tefillah. In very hot climates where men regularly wear shorts, a person who always wears shorts should consult with his rav (see Responsa Hillel Omer 29). If he is serving as the shaliach tzibbur, as in the incident described above, it is forbidden to pray in shorts (Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as cited in Halichos Shlomo 2,15).


Text Copyright © 2012 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 


ARTICLES ON VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayigash
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Why The Shift In Attitude?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Yaakov's Descent to Egypt
Shlomo Katz - 5764

> A Little Light Chases Away a Lot of Darkness
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

My son, the Prime Minister!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Good and Bad Company
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Fundamental of "Foundation"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

From the Mouth of a "Turned Off" Student
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Destiny Today
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Feel My Pain
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Chanukah
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

What Did Yosef Mean?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

ArtScroll

Don't Look A Gift-Donkey In The Mouth
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Love Conquers All
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

The Hasmoneans Take a Stand: A History of Chanukah, Part II
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5774

It's MY Business
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information