2

I know the question has been asked before, but I'm still looking for more info. Other questions and answers focus on the strict permissibility of it. I'm pretty sure it's technically allowed, but wondering if it's a good idea.

  • In the comfort of your own home, can/should you go shirtless during exercise or just in general? Meaning is it appropriate for a home where the children are in yeshiva?
  • What about running in the park? Is a T-shirt and shorts outfit fine?
  • What about boys or men walking around in boxer shorts?
1
  • 2/3 of this question is literally copied from the duplicate...
    – mbloch
    May 6 at 12:21

1 Answer 1

7

Yalkut Yosef Hashkamat Haboker 2:1

Whenever someone conducts himself respectfully because he wishes to show honor to God, and displays his awareness that God's Presence fills the entire universe, he gains the title of "One Who Honors God." The verse (Shemuel I 2:30), "I will give honor to those who honor Me," applies to those people.

The way one dresses honours Hashem. It is associated with a sensitivity that Hashem fills the universe, a sensitivity that makes us desire to be respectable, because we are in the presence of the very great Master, Who desires us to be holy and modest.

Yevamot 78b:

David said: There are three distinguishing marks of this nation, the Jewish people. They are merciful, they are bashful, and they perform acts of kindness...They are bashful, as it is written: “And that His fear shall be upon your faces” (Shemot 20:17)

Footnotes on Yalkut Yosef:

The responsa Igrot Moshe (Vol. III, Yoreh De'ah. #47:3: #68:4) asserted that there is no halachic obligation for men to clothe their entire bodies, but it is a highly recommended behaviour. Even when going to a restroom, one should not undress until one is about to sit on the toilet...

In contrast to this, the responsa Mishne Halachot (Vol. VI, #2) ruled that these instructions [to put on at least a robe before you even sit up in bed] are an absolute requirement of the Talmud, Poskim, and the Shulchan Aruch. The Ben Ish Chai (parashat Vayetze halacha 4) cited several Rishonim who listed modest dressing as one of the Torah's commandments, whereas others listed it as one of the outstanding traits of the nation of Yisrael, highly recommended by our Sages. He concluded that we must take care to dress modestly since there are those who ruled that it is a Torah obligation...

Suppose that it is extremely hot and a man who normally wears regular shirts wishes to go about sleeveless. According to the Igrot Moshe, this would be permissible. One is not expected to observe voluntary halachot when it causes great discomfort. It may be, however, that according to the Mishne Halachot, it would be forbidden even in these circumstances...

The Ben Ish Chai (parashat Vayetze halacha 4) ruled that one must make sure to lock the door when using the restroom, pointing out that the Sefer Mitzvot Katan and other Rishonim counted modest behaviour as one of the mitzvot of the Torah...

The Igrot Moshe stated that our Sages' definition of modest dress is not that one must go about all day and night as one would be expected to appear in the king's palace, or that one must dress in private as one would dress in in the presence of ordinary strangers. Although we must remain aware of God's Presence, the halacha demands that we dress as if appearing in a king's palace only when praying the Amida, as the Shulchan Aruch ruled (91:5). At other times, one is expected to dress in a manner that is respectable, so that one would not be embarrassed in the presence of ordinary people. He adds that when it is very hot, there is no obligation to observe this standard either, since everyone [including God] understands the situation. Regardless of the circumstances, it is forbidden to expose one's genitals.

The Mishna Berura (2:1)... states that one must not expose any part of the body that one normally keeps covered. One may reveal one's arm up to the elbow and one's throat down to the top of the chest, he specified. In countries where people always wear socks, one must put them on while under the covers without exposing one's bare feet.

This gives an overview of the precise way halacha views the topic. It's a beautiful halacha to learn because it is about developing a sensitivity, rather than a just rigid set of laws (although of course there are rigid laws too). That is how the halacha is written and presented.

According to some opinions it is highly recommended to dress properly, with sleeves and trousers and socks, even when at home, and according to others, it is an outright obligation.

You asked specifically about a yeshivish family, and indeed a yeshivish family should be strict with this code of conduct (not taking on strong recommendations of Chazal would be like (l'havdil) a business owner not taking advice from his accountant, unimaginable if yeshiva taught them anything), although certainly not push in any way on people who do not wish to follow the opinion that it is halacha, or even upon the people who do not want to take the recommendation. Them doing so does not imply in any way that they are lesser in Hashem's eyes.

I'll finish with a story from yeshiva. We had someone who didn't dress very respectably, deliberately messy, untucked, and he was also generally quiet. He spoke to our Rosh Yeshiva once, who recommended he take it upon himself to start dressing smartly, and as a result he will feel better about himself, feel like a more respectable person, and indeed this is exactly what happened. He told me, and just about everyone how much of a real impact this had.

Even if one is not on the level to be bashful and fearful to undress in Hashem's presence, one will still move towards this by following the halachot, as when one feels more respectable, it opens gates and he is able to come closer to Hashem.

This effect also maintains respect in the home. Making it harder for others to find one respectable, which happens if someone lounges around in their underwear or topless, is putting up barriers to the close, holy intimate homes we are expected to produce. Respect between spouses is essential for shalom bayit. We can't deny the way Hashem made us, and He made us that we are much more able to be close with people we deeply respect. It goes without saying the importance of being respectable to one's children. It's not worth playing with that. Our home is our Mikdash Me'at.


If you want to get more information on this, I do recommend getting the Yalkut Yosef, the english Saka Edition is what I used for the above quotes if you prefer english. It is very good and the section is quite long, and really gives a good portrayal of how a Yirat Shamayim's outlook should be, as well as go into modern and local exceptions and the rules for that - some yeshivas may have different holy customs than the ones outlined in the above passage. I recommend learning the whole of the 1, all seifim, especially 1:8 on the halacha of being aware of Hashem's presence always, and all the footnotes.

2
  • 1
    You really went in-depth here, @RabbiKaii! Kol hakevod and Shabbat Shalom, Hanukkah Sameah, and Hodesh Tov! Dec 23, 2022 at 13:04
  • 1
    @יהושעק Chazak u'baruch, u'lchen l'mar!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 23, 2022 at 13:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .