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I think the shulchan aruch says that when going down to bath in the river he should cover his erva and when coming up to get dressed he shouldnt (I think) so people don't think he is embarassed of his bris.

In every mikveh I have ever been in everyone gets undressed and walks around and shmoozes, dries off. Yet I've come across a few guys that say you do need to be modest even in the mikva. Which is the right mhalech ? It seems it could be a bad thing to cover up either because it looks like you're embarased of your bris, or because you're essentially saying it's not right to be naked (like everyone there is doing).

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  • Can you source this Shulchan Aruch?
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 18:32
  • See B'rachos 62b, where Sha'ul is praised for conducting himself modestly by ensuring that his private areas could not be seen by others: "אמר רבי אלעזר אמר לו דוד לשאול מן התורה בן הריגה אתה... אלא צניעות שהיתה בך היא חסה עליך ומאי היא דכתיב ויבא אל גדרות הצאן על הדרך ושם מערה ויבא שאול להסך את רגליו תנא גדר לפנים מן גדר ומערה לפנים ממערה להסך אמר ר' אלעזר מלמד שסכך עצמו כסוכה". I know a Rav and Rosh Yeshiva in Israel who maintains that the prevalent practice that you describe at mikvas is lacking in proper modesty.
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 18:36
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/88054
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 18:51
  • This leads to a related question. Why are men going to the mikvah naked altogether? Just wear a bathing suit. The water goes through the suit and you can loosen the string in the water. And even if you do not, it is a miyut and therefore not a chatzizah m'doraysa. Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 19:36
  • why NOT go naked ?
    – anon
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 20:20

2 Answers 2

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Yalkut Yosef Hashkamat Haboker Siman 2 Halacha 2:

It is permissible to go about in the nude as necessary in a public bathhouse. This is not considered immodest behaviour.

The normal practice in a mikva is to be naked, so it's not considered immodest. Note the phrase "as necessary". One shouldn't spend more time in the mikva than necessary, or more time naked than necessary.

Don't drive yourself crazy and keep your clothes on until the very last minute and run in a panic while naked. Just be normal and don't do anything frivolous.

It should be noted that modesty isn't just limited to erva, but to general behaviour. Having conversations with others while in the nude is generally not becoming of the dignity or holiness of a person, and is immodest and should be avoided. No need to be rude, and ignore people who try to talk to you, though, but don't engage in unnecessary conversation.

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It's not just in the mikvah, it's not just men, and it's not just a bath, witness this story from the Talmud:

A certain woman came before Rabbi Yoḥanan and told him that every time she came out of the mikvah, she would see blood before she had intercourse with her husband [so they couldn’t proceed].
He said: Maybe the gossip and evil eye of the women in your city has reached you. [They are jealous of the love between you and your husband.] Go and immerse in the river and have intercourse with your husband on the bank of the river [so that other women will not see you coming out of the mikvah.] [Niddah 66a]

I conclude that you can be naked if there is a good reason for it. Otherwise, the rules of modesty apply.

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