Halacha for Monday 22 Iyar 5779 May 27 2019

Young Girls Attending the Synagogue

Question: May one recite blessings or pray when young girls, approximately six or seven years of age, who are wearing immodest clothing are present in the synagogue?

Answer: The Torah states, “For Hashem, your G-d, goes in the midst of your camp etc. and he shall not see a decadent matter among you and turn away from you.” Our Sages derived from this verse that one may not pray or recite any blessings or holy words while facing an immoral matter, i.e. something immodest.

Our Sages likewise prohibited praying or reciting blessing while facing a hand’s breadth (approximately 8 cm) of any part of the body which must be covered, such as the upper arms (the part closer to the shoulder) and the like. This means that one may not read Keri’at Shema or pray while facing a revealed portion of such body parts which must be covered.

Young Girls-The Opinion of the Mishnah Berura
Regarding young girls who come into the synagogue wearing immodest clothing, Hagaon Mishnah Berura writes (in Chapter 75, Subsection 23) that this law not of being able to pray or recite words of holiness facing a hand’s breadth of any body part which must be covered applies even to young girls beginning from the age of three and above. There are sources for this found among the Poskim.

Indeed, the Eshel Avraham (Botchatch) writes that although there is room to say that young girls are not included in this prohibition, one should nevertheless not act leniently for several reasons.

The Opinion of the Chazon Ish
On the other hand, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l quotes (in his Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 6, Chapter 14 and Halichot Olam, Volume 1, page 120) the opinion of Hagaon Chazon Ish and other great Poskim who rule that since the main issue of this prohibition is due to improper thoughts, it seems that this law does not apply to girls who are so young that they do not cause others to have improper thoughts. He proceeds to bring several sources for this opinion.

Thus, halachically speaking, when young girls, ages eight or nine, who are wearing immodest clothing are present in the synagogue, although it is proper for one to close one’s eyes or look only into one’s Siddur, it is nevertheless permissible according to the letter of the law to read Keri’at Shema or pray while facing them, as long as there is no concern of improper thoughts present.

The Mitzvah of Education
Nevertheless, Maran zt”l adds that it is inappropriate to bring such girls to the synagogue and clearly, it is prohibited for parents to dress their children in immodest clothing, for they are obligated to educate their children to act and dress modestly.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Holiday of Chanukah

Since we are approaching the holiday of Chanukah, let us begin discussing some of its pertinent laws based on what we have written in previous years in addition to new some new ideas as well. When Chanukah Falls Out this Year The holiday of Chanukah lasts for eight days beginning from the 25th o......

Read Halacha

Lighting the Chanukah Candles

The Mitzvah of Lighting Chanukah Candles We have explained previously that there is a Mitzvah to light candles on Chanukah. Both men and women are equally included in this Mitzvah. The Amount of Oil When lighting Chanukah candles, one should be certain to put in enough oil so that they will rem......

Read Halacha

Honoring One’s Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law

The Yalkut Shimoni states: “David told Shaul, ‘My father, you shall surely see the corner of your coat in my hand’” (which means that David called Shaul his father). Our Sages derived from here that one is obligated to honor one’s father-in-law just as one is obligated ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha


Reciting Kaddish

When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Similarly, if one, G-d-forbid, loses a son, daughter, brother, or sister, one should recite Kaddis......

Read Halacha

Honoring One’s Parents After their Passing and Mentioning the Phrase “I am an Atonement for His Rest”

Honoring One’s Parents After their Passing Our Sages tell us in Masechet Kiddushin (31b) that “One must honor him during his lifetime and one must honor him after his death,” meaning that just as one is obligated to honor his parents while they are alive, one must also honor them ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Honoring Parents After Their Passing

Just as one is obligated to honor one’s parents during their lifetime, one is likewise obligated to honor one’s parents after their passing. One may certainly not disrespect one’s parents after their death. The Baraita (Kiddushin 31b) states: “Whenever one mentions a Torah......

Read Halacha

Honoring One’s Older Brother

The Gemara in Masechet Ketubot (103a) discusses why the Torah writes, “Honor your father and your mother” when it could have seemingly written “Honor your father and mother” (without including the Hebrew words  "את" "ואת"). Our Sages expound the first......

Read Halacha