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My wife told me that she heard a shiur that claimed that there was a minhag to not sleep with socks on so that others can see that we don't have chicken feet and aren't a sheid/demon because of this story from Gittin 68b.

I had never heard of this before. I have found this question, which is related, but no one mentioned it having anything to do with sheidim/demons. Has anyone come across this before and is there a source for it? Is it a minhag that should be kept or just something that some people are careful about?

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  • If the minhag is people don't go round in public without socks, then some hold it is halacha to wear socks when sleeping. Just fyi
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented May 7 at 10:42
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    Well, let me ask you this- have you ever seen a Shin Daled wearing socks? Exactly. Commented May 7 at 11:19
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    @יהושעק that's why they invented "toe" socks.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented May 7 at 11:36
  • Who are these "others" that see you asleep in your bed? Commented May 7 at 13:49
  • @יהושעק How would I know? Surely that's the point if they can appear human (other than feet)? Personally I'm rather sceptical about this and I'm not convinced they exist at all, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a minhag! Commented May 7 at 14:24

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Hopefully this should answer your question which was answered on ShulchanAruchHarav.com

Sleeping with socks:

The Halachic issue of removing the socks and revealing the feet:[1] In area that it is not common to ever walk with revealed feet, even in the summer, they must be careful to always have the feet covered, either with socks or by their blanket.[2] In areas that it is common to walk without socks, then it is not necessary to leave them constantly covered, and hence one may sleep without socks and have his feet extend pass the covers.[3]

The practical ruling and customs: Practically, in today’s times, it is permitted for one to remove his socks and sleep with uncovered feet.[4] This especially applies in a case that one is in pain in leaving his socks on.[5] Furthermore, some Poskim[6] state, based on a ruling in Shulchan Aruch Harav[7], that it is “forbidden” [for men] to sleep with socks [or with the feet covered under a blanket, as doing so can lead to nocturnal emission[8]. Furthermore, there is a tradition based on a directive of the Alter Rebbe[9] that sleeping with socks can lead to lack of memory.[10] Practically, based on all this, it is the custom of some pious and meticulous Jews to be particular to specifically sleep without socks and with the feet out of the blanket.[11] However, on the other hand, there are Chassidim who are stringent even today to never reveal their feet, and they hence change their socks under the covers, and never reveal their feet, or simply sleep with their socks.[12]

The Chabad custom:[13] Some Chabad Chassidim are particular to always remove their socks and uncover their feet due to the belief that sleeping with socks can cause memory loss, or due to that sleeping with covered feet can cause nocturnal emission to a man. On the other hand, other Chabad Chassidim[14] are particular to specifically sleep with socks or at least sleep with their feet always under the covers in order not to reveal the feet. Practically, one may choose as he sees fit. Certainly, there is no room to obligate Chabad Chassidim to specifically sleep without socks.

A Maaseh Shehaya

Sleeping without socks:[15]

The following story was related by Rav Chaim Mordechai Perlow: I heard from the Mashpia, Rav Shmuel Gronam Estherman, that the Chassid Reb Michal of Optzuk studied in his youth many books of philosophy. In his later years he complained to the Alter Rebbe that the ideas which he read disturb his thoughts and perturb him. The Alter Rebbe told him: “You should sleep with socks, as this matter causes forgetfulness. Consequently, you will forget the ideas you learned from the philosophy books.”


[1] See Admur Basra 2:2; Kama 2:9; 4:18; 56:17; 75:1; 91:5; 128:4; 619:19; Aruch Hashulchan 2:1; Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 3:47; Piskeiy Teshuvos 2:1

[2] Admur Basra 2:2 in parentheses “(In those areas that it is not common to ever walk with revealed feet, even in the summer, they must be careful to always have the feet covered. Thus, when removing the socks prior to going to sleep one is to first cover his feet with the blanket and remove them under the blanket. Likewise, when putting on socks after awakening one is to put them on little by little under the blanket in order not to reveal it at all. This law applies throughout the day or night whenever he is switching socks.)”; M”B 2:1; However see Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 3:47 for analysis on opinion of M”B; See regarding the prohibition against walking barefoot, and that one who does so the Sages said is considered excommunicated from G-d: Admur Kama 2:9; Rama 2:6

[3] Admur 75:1; See also Admur 56:17; 91:5; 128:44; 619:18 which permits revealing the feet

[4] Aruch Hashulchan 2:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 2:1; as it is common to walk in slippers, without socks, inside one’s house even when one has company. [see Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 3:47]

[5] Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 3:47

[6] Chakal Yitzchak Mamar 7:3 [Yitzchak Issac of Spinka, murdered in Aushwitz Al Kiddush Hashem. HY”D]

[7] See Admur 619:18 based on Shelah and Elya Raba 619:11 that on the night of Yom Kippur one is to sleep with his feet uncovered in order to diminish the heat and prevent improper stimulation. It is told that the Rebbe Rashab gave someone similar instructions, to sleep without socks, as a Tikkun for nocturnal emission. [Otzar Minhagei Chabad Yom Kippur 176]

[8] Based on 619:18 the issue is not necessarily the socks but the fact the feet are covered.

[9] See the story of Admur recorded in Chassidim Harishonim 1:92, as brought below

[10] The reason: Perhaps the reason for this is due to that nocturnal emission causes forgetfulness. [See Tanya Igeres Hateshuvah 9 [blemishes the mind]; Mamarim Haketzarim p. 359; Tocheches Chaim [Falagi] p. 6 in name of Ramak; See Igros Kodesh 16:272 that acting with modesty strengthens the memory]

[11] Brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 2 footnote 4

[12] Shulchan Hatahor “Tznius” chapter 4; This was the ruling of Harav Avraham Hirsh Hakohen, father of Rav Asher Lemel Hakohen, Rav of Anash Beitar Ilit.

[13] Reply of Rav Eli Landa regarding Chabad custom: “There is no issue to sleep with socks. On the contrary, the elderly Rav of Kefar Chabad, Harav Garelik, was accustomed to specificvally sleep with socks for reasons of Tzenius. However, not everyone is accustomed to do so.”

[14] See above regaridng Rav Avraham Hirsh Hakohen, and Rav S.Z. Garelik

[15] Chassidim Harishonim 1:92

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