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Is there a minimum amount one must be covered for informal prayer? If so, what is the minimum amount one must be covered to be permitted to pray?

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  • why "outside Shema, for example"?
    – Double AA
    Sep 1, 2022 at 12:49
  • @DoubleAA In case Shema has a higher standard than prayer in general. If not, then I can omit that qualifier.
    – The Editor
    Sep 1, 2022 at 12:53
  • The opposite is actually the case. Formal prayer has a higher standard than shema.
    – Double AA
    Sep 1, 2022 at 12:55
  • @DoubleAA I changed the question to pertain to informal prayer.
    – The Editor
    Sep 1, 2022 at 13:05
  • What’s an informal prayer? Modeh Ani can be said with no clothing. Is that a prayer?
    – Chatzkel
    Sep 1, 2022 at 14:16

3 Answers 3

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According to halacha in the Kitzer Schulchan Aruch (Siman 12:1)

"one must dress himself in dignified garments when he goes to pray in the manner of one who is going [to appear] before an important official. Even if he is praying alone in his home he must dress himself appropriately. In places where the custom is to [always] wear a belt, it is forbidden to pray until one has girded himself [with a belt]."

Those are the laws specifically regarding prayer. In regards to clothing in general, perhaps less formally, Siman 3:3 states:

"One should not wear expensive clothing for this brings a person to [feelings of] haughtiness. [One should also] not [wear] very inferior or dirty clothing, so that he not be humiliated in the eyes of others. Rather, he should have clean clothing of average quality. As a rule, one should [be prepared to] sell even the beams of his house, [and use the funds thus obtained] to buy shoes for his feet."

And then, as seen in many Jewish communities, there is the kippah/head covering requirement from Siman 3:6 derived from Mishnah Berurah 2:12. There is also tzitzis, which is a garment (Siman 9) that is worn throughout the day and used specifically in the morning prayers (along with a tallis, for married men, depending on the community).

I know that your question refers specifically to informal prayer, so I hope this helps. The general idea is to pray with a general respect for G-d in mind. Try to avoid prayer in bathrooms or other places that are dirty.

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  • Welcome to MiYodeya Alexander and thanks for this first answer. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Sep 2, 2022 at 4:45
  • "Try to avoid prayer in a bathroom" - who prays there? Beyond often being forbidden, who would think of doing this?
    – mbloch
    Sep 2, 2022 at 4:45
  • Thanks for your reply. Is there weight to the view that clothing isn't necessary to say Modeh Ani? If so, would the same apply for informal prayer?
    – The Editor
    Sep 2, 2022 at 17:54
  • There is a related question - Can modeh ani be recited before the person dress up?
    – Alexander
    Sep 4, 2022 at 4:18
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אבל אם היה ישן על מטתו ערום אסור להזכיר [שום] שם מז' שמות שאינן נמחקין או להוציא דברי תורה מפיו עד שינקה את ידיו בכל מידי דמנקי משום דמסתמא נגע במקומות המכוסים שבאדם כגון שוק וירך וכיוצא בהם שיש בהם מלמולי זיעה שהידים עסקניות הן: But if he were to sleep on his bed naked, it is forbidden to mention [any] name from the 7 Names that cannot be erased or to utter Torah words from his mouth until he has cleansed his hands with all manners of cleaning, because he must have touched the covered places of a person such as the shin and thigh and the like that have sweat on them.

https://www.sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh_HaRav,_Orach_Chayim_4.3

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For Modeh Ani, minimum clothing requirements for this 12-second prayer include :

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