In todays day and age where we no longer have homes with dirt floors:

  • do you still need to cover your feet when making a bracha or davening?
  • If so are socks enough?
  • does it depend on the custom of the place you live?
  • If not would that only apply to carpeted areas?
  • is there a difference between being in a private home versus a public area?
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    perhaps document as part of the question a source that feet must be covered? – josh waxman Feb 22 '12 at 12:30

I only know of covering ones feet being important while praying during the amidah (whether in private in public),

"One should not pray wearing [only] his undershirt, bareheaded, or barefoot - if it is the custom of the people of that place to stand before their most respected people with shoes." M"T Hilkhoth Tephilah 5:5

But this is in the context that if one does pray with out shoes while in a place in which it is customary to not be barefooted when in the presence of esteemed people it does not invalidate their amidah (ibn 5:1). I haven't heard of it being needed for a brakha.

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    +1 It would seem that both the US and Israel nowadays would be classified as requiring some sort of foot covering (sandal/shoe). – Double AA Sep 25 '12 at 0:25
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    Yes most places in the world today i would imagine. I wonder how it would apply with socks, maybe if you are indoors in a place where one wouldn't wear shoes even if such a person was coming over (ie one own house) it would be ok to pray in socks since thats the normal foot wear in that situation? im not to sure about that. – Qoheleth Sep 25 '12 at 0:31
  • @DoubleAA, many homes have a remove-your-shoes-at-the-door policy. I'm not sure what they'd do if their "most respected people" paid a visit, however. – msh210 Sep 25 '12 at 7:09
  • @msh210 Plus "of that place" might have a slightly broader definition than each person's private home. – Double AA Sep 28 '12 at 3:57
  • @DoubleAA, indeed; I was thinking, though, of a (geographical) place where such a policy is common. – msh210 Sep 28 '12 at 4:51

I believe the Chayei Adam says in places where women go barefoot that's fine, in places where they're usually covered they should be covered.

  • Isn't that related to general tzniut not making a bracha or davening? – none Feb 22 '12 at 14:36
  • @Moshe, correct, I think I was confusing two questions here. A, I should be properly dressed (out of respect) when I daven, so what footwear is required. B, I shouldn't daven if there's an "exposed" woman nearby, what's "exposed" with regards to feet? – Shalom Feb 22 '12 at 15:27

I've found that a lot of this depends on the culture around a person.

My Zeidi for example, would not allow people to go around with only socks on under any circumstances. And a Bracha could never be said in slippers. I imagine this has a lot to do with his 'proper' upbringing.

R. Aviner today, will never allow a person to go barefoot, but slippers and socks are ok.

Having your feet covered is about more than just "dirt floors". It is also a sense of dirtiness of the floor (you wouldn't eat off of it), as well as issues of respect and dignity.

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    My father z"l did not like us to go around without shoes. I felt that his dsailike was because mourners do not wear leather shoes. – Avrohom Yitzchok Feb 22 '12 at 14:27
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    @AvrohomYitzchok this was the same reason I learned - if somebody had a source, it would make a great answer. – yoel Feb 22 '12 at 15:49
  • @AvrohomYitzchok That falls under ideas of human dignity and respect. I was told because of mourners, because "people" don't walk without shoes, only animals do, because they are smelly, and a myriad of other reasons. – avi Feb 22 '12 at 17:19
  • My Zeida as well did not like us to walk in socks. It was a superstitious concern that, just like a mourner walks without shoes, so to if you walk with out shoes you may come to be a mourner. It was not a Halacha or Torah concept as I understood it. – RCW Sep 23 '12 at 22:28
  • @AvrohomYitzchok Angels don't either. – Double AA Mar 10 '14 at 21:24

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