During prayer a person stands before the King of kings and should be dressed appropriately for the occasion. In this vein, the halachah states that a person should not pray wearing pajamas. Even if one’s sleeping attire covers his entire body, addressing Hashem in pajamas is not appropriate (Mishnah Berurah 91,11).
Someone who is sick in bed may pray wearing pajamas. Since in his weakened state he would accept distinguished guests in this attire, wearing these clothes is not considered a slight to Hashem’s honor. The same halachah applies to elderly people who are unable to get dressed, and thus remain in their pajamas during the day (Nishmas Avraham 1,91,4).
Some women wear robes when they are at home. As long as a woman would wear such a robe outside of the house, she is permitted to wear it while praying. However, she should make sure that it does not resemble pajamas, for wearing such a robe during tefillah would be a slight to Hashem’s honor.
One night I was in pajamas and about to go to sleep, when I remembered that I hadn’t recited Maariv. I put clothing over my sleepwear and went to minyan. Since others only see the outer clothing and not the pajamas, this is an acceptable way to stand before Hashem (Leket Kemach Hachadash 91,8).
In the last section we discussed wearing pajamas for prayer. Even though this is certainly not a preferable way to recite Shemoneh Esrei, if a person is sick and unable to change his clothing, he may not have another choice. Nevertheless, even in such circumstances, a person should be aware that pajamas are sometimes loose and open, and he must take precautions to be covered completely.
“Your camp should be holy” (Devarim 23,15). In previous sections, we discussed that this verse is the source of the prohibition to recite Shemoneh Esrei while seeing an improperly clothed woman, or a man whose genitals are uncovered. Just as one may not see the nakedness of others, a person may not pray while his own nakedness is exposed.
Praying without a separation between heart and genitals is a Rabbinic prohibition. While according to some authorities, this invalidates prayers, other opinions are lenient. Therefore, if one recited Shemoneh Esrei without a separation, he need not repeat his tefillah (see Dressed to Serve the King I – Thursday).
However, all opinions agree that praying with one’s genitals exposed is a Torah violation. If one recited Shemoneh Esrei without the proper covering, even if his eyes were closed, he is obligated to repeat Shemoneh Esrei (Mishnah Berurah 74,4).
Text Copyright © 2012 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org