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.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic c......

Read Halacha

Mourning Customs Observed During the “Three Weeks”

---------------------------------- By Popular Request: There is room for leniency regarding listening to music during the "Three Weeks" for those who are in isolation or quarantine in cases of need. This is especially true regarding young children and one must do one's utmost to lif......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws. Fish Baked With Meat The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was ba......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Meat and Dairy on the Same Table

The Reasons and Parameters of This Law If one is eating dairy foods, our Sages have enacted that one may not allow meat foods to be placed on the same table. For instance, one who is eating bread with cheese may not place meat on the same table. The reason for this is because we are concerned that ......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating Meat and Dairy on the Same Table-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have explained that it is forbidden to eat dairy foods on a table on which meat foods are placed, for there is concern that the individual eating will taste some of the other foods on the table, thus having transgressed the grave prohibition of eating milk and meat togethe......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha