The Shulhan Aruch records the custom of placing one's hand over his eyes in Shema in order to increase concentration. What about someone who wears glasses? Must he move them or remove them?

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    Not really an answer (because no source for it), but I've always just put my hands directly over my eyes, pushing my glasses up.
    – Alex
    Jan 25, 2012 at 15:08
  • 2
    @Alex, Same here.
    – jake
    Jan 25, 2012 at 15:11
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    perhaps knowing the reason why just closing your eyes is not enough may also help us with an answer to this question.
    – Menachem
    Jan 25, 2012 at 17:25
  • @Menachem see Ydk's answer. Jan 26, 2012 at 4:09
  • Please include sources with a proper reference, instead of just The Shulchan Aruch says. or The Talmud says.
    – barlop
    Jan 28, 2018 at 13:02

5 Answers 5



The Piskei Teshuvos 61:5 mentions from the Arizal that the hand has to actually cover the eyes. However the Kloizenberger Rebbe Zatzal held that you may just cover the glasses with your hand. In Chabad they lift the glasses and place the hand on the eyes.

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    I wouldn't call it a Chabad minhag. It says that since the Lubavitcher Rebbe did it, many of his chasidim do it as well. (Or maybe they saw Alex doing it ;)
    – YDK
    Jan 25, 2012 at 18:26
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    @YDK, actually, that site doesn't say anything about the Rebbe and glasses (AFAIR, he never used to wear glasses in public anyway), just that he would actually have (some of his) fingers touching his eyes (as opposed, I guess, to just holding his hand an inch or two in front of them). Apparently people generalized from this that nothing should interpose between the fingers and the eyes.
    – Alex
    Jan 25, 2012 at 20:53
  • Interesting, I guess that's why Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Zs"l I believe used to move his glasses while saying Shema. Jan 26, 2012 at 15:27
  • @HachamGabriel that is how things are made up. Maybe Rav M. E. just felt more comfortable that way. Please provide sources and not conjecture. Thanks
    – Yaabim
    Jan 16, 2021 at 20:46

Yalkut Yosef 61:4

ואין צריך להסיר המשקפיים בעת שנותן ידיו על עיניו בקריאת שמע.‏

He holds you don't have to remove the glasses.


I don't believe it says anywhere that you have to put your hand over your eyes.

"(They) are accustomed to pace their hands over their face when reading the 1st pasuk so that one won't stare at anything else that will deter him from concentrating." (SA OC 61:5)

It isn't clear from the Shulchan Aruch whether it is 1 hand or both. Although the source for the custom (Brachos 13: 2nd to last sec.) implies both hands, the Mishna Berura brings in the name of the Ata"z that the custom is the right hand.

The custom has morphed into covering the eyes which allows for the original intent of the custom. There is no indication that I need to close my eyes under my hand. If that were true, there would be no need to cover the face in the first place.

Leaving glasses on does not interfere with that intent and there is no custom to specifically take them off.

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    +1. Perhaps the intent is to shade the face so it is impossible to look forward but possible to look down at the text. (On the other hand, in the good old days most people didn't have the text before them, I don't think.)
    – msh210
    Jan 25, 2012 at 18:33
  • And to add to your answer, there is no reason to cover the eyes if you close them!
    – Yaabim
    Jan 16, 2021 at 20:44

The Dirshu Mishna Berura (סי' סא, note 5 in the first edition [=not the "expanded" edition]) cites שו"ת דברי יציב (Likutim סי' י"ב) that it's "obvious" (פשוט) that one who wears glasses can fulfill this halacha by covering his glasses with his hands, directly, as there is no issue of חציצה (IOW; there is no issue if something comes between one's hand and one's eyes), as the entire purpose of covering the eyes is so that one will not be distracted by goings-on around oneself.

  • No offence to any Mi Yodeyaians here, but I agree that it is "obvious".
    – Yaabim
    Jan 16, 2021 at 20:45

If one is wearing glasses he does not need to take them off rather he can place his hand over them(Oz Nedabru 12:53)

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