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Is there any credence to the view that those who do not cover knees and elbows are violating Halacha, as opposed to relying on a more lenient opinion of "shok" and "zeroah"? This thread - quotes knees and elbows as a bare minimum, without relevant sources, and a similar thread seems to suggest that it is widely debated and more "Dat Yehudit" (minhag) vs "Dat Moshe" (halacha).

Is it halachically wrong for women to wear skirts slightly above or at the knee? Or is it a matter of Minhag?

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  • There's a lot going on here. What is one direct question you want answered that isn't asked in those other places? – Double AA Feb 7 at 18:51
  • @DoubleAA The other threads seem to indicate that it is a matter of Minhag, and not Halacha. I'm asking if the standard 'knees and elbows uncovered is against halacha' response has any basis, or it is just people being machmir and expecting others to do the same. – Elie Feb 7 at 19:09
  • @DoubleAA Edited the question to be more specific. – Elie Feb 7 at 19:14
  • This is definitely better, but it's still hard to know what you mean by the words "halacha" and "minhag". And of course we have to allow for the ever present possibility of machloket. Does an answer with a solitary opinion that wearing said clothing is forbidden by halacha satisfactorily answer your question, even if other opinions exist? What if an opinion holds that the prohibition is fully in force by dint of minhag? – Double AA Feb 7 at 19:18
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    That's becoming quite a handful again, but whatever it is you want, try to be as clear as you can in the post itself to make sure you get what you want and that people don't post things you don't. – Double AA Feb 7 at 20:07
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Dinonline speaks about knees here

The principle halachah is that the thigh must be covered, up to and including the knee. This is the ruling given by the Mishnah Berurah (75:2), and many follow his ruling. In a practical sense, the skirt must several centimeters lower than the knee, to ensure that it is covered at all times.

However, many authorities (including the Chazon Ish 16:8) write that the “shok” of the Gemara is not the thigh, but the leg beneath the knee, reaching down to the ankle.

According to these opinions, the entire leg, down to the ankle, should be covered. However, there is no obligation to cover the entire leg with a skirt or dress, and for the area beneath the kneeit is sufficient to wear tights.

and see here for Rav Henkin discussing elbows, as well as this article which quotes Rav Ovadiah Yosef.

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  • Can anyone source to Rishonim that it matters lehalacha what the gemara's term shok meant? I can't. This debate is purely academic/lishmah, not lemaaseh. – Double AA Feb 7 at 18:57
  • @NJM Where does MB 75:2 mention the knee, or clothing outside of reciting the Shema? It seems like he only mentioned the ankle (which would be a more strict opinion - is this a translator's assumption?), and when a person (male) is reciting Shema her presence. – Elie Feb 7 at 19:48
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    @Elie that's indeed a poor translation (though the summary in this answer is also poor, since the Mishna berura never says "and including"; I'd downvote since this answer is literally false, but the OP is just quoting and it's not his fault) – Double AA Feb 7 at 19:55

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