Is there is any "dress code" or limitation regarding what to wear (I mean at the minimum) when the time comes to put on the tefelin? I see many people putting them on wearing pajamas for example... I might be wrong but this seems (to me) a bit wrong... we don't go at the beit knesset in pajamas and yet in both cases we are present before G-d. Is this only a "mida tova" to be "well dressed" (and this could be very relative) or is there a commandment regarding the minimum to wear when putting on tefilin.

  • Are you more "before God" while wearing tefillin?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:20
  • Well, I'll give you a metaphor. When I'm at work my boss "always sees me" (and everyone else), but I don't "see" him. I concentrate on what I have to do, I have red-lines regarding my comportment with my colleges and I always try to be as good as I can with them but I can't keep in my mind that I'm being watch, it will hurt my capabilities . But when I go personally talk to the boss, at that moment I have to show my respect as mush as I can. The difference in the fact that I'm aware of the meeting makes it much more important I think.
    – user1854
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:41
  • Now if you're asking me, I always dress up before praying but the question was about what's really required
    – user1854
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:42
  • Why does wearing tefillin parallel going to talk to your boss? I think you are trying to parallel to tefillah which is not the same. Please clarify if your question relates to phylacteries or prayer.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:43
  • hum.. yes it's about tefilah, but when I wear tefilin I pray so I don't make the difference, but you're right it's more about the tefilah and wearing the tefilin makes me remember that I'm right now before G-d.
    – user1854
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


As far as avoiding things that would be a Bizayon (an insult) to the Tefillin, you are required to cover the parts of your body that are normally covered. This of course means one's private areas, but it also means a shirt, and some kind of shoes for the vast majority of people, and also pants and probably socks for most people as well. However, it is clear that everything is relative. The only thing that will invalidate prayer is being nude.

Full disclosure: I wear shorts and sandals a lot during the summer, so, although I would not go to an important meeting with my boss in shorts and sandals, if I'm tight on time and won't be able to change, or if I don't have any better options, I feel it is acceptable to wear shorts and sandals, as the "requirement" of dressing as before a king is mentioned, even according to the Mishnah Berurah (91:1:3), as a Midath Hasiduth. My first preference, if possible, though, is to try to meet that Midah. Also, when I was younger, I wore sandals to Shi'ur one day. A classmate asked the Rav if that was appropriate, to which the Rav answered, "If it was good enough for our ancestors at Har Sinai receiving the Torah, it should be good enough for Seth." The point is, as stated above, it's all relative: you should look dignified when praying. You should look dignified all the time. What is required, however, is not the same thing.

Of course, the entire section (Hilchoth Tefillah) cited above is referring to Tefillah, not wearing Tefillin, which msh210 objected to in a comment on b a's answer, but it is not unreasonable to treat the two similarly. Perhaps a slightly higher standard is warranted if you are doing both, but if you are going to be stricter for a twofer (Tefillin and Tefillah), you should probably be strict all the time (Tefillin or Tefillah).

  • I think conflating Tefillah with Tefillin is an anachronism. Recall our discussion to your other question: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/17242/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:46
  • @DoubleAA, True. I do think, though, that decency minimums are a different category from speech.
    – Seth J
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:55
  • @DoubleAA, On the one hand they have a status of Devarim SheBikdushah (IINM), yet on the other hand, the Gemara talks about how to properly hold them while going to the bathroom.
    – Seth J
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:56
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    +1, "If it was good enough for our ancestors at Har Sinai receiving the Torah, it should be good enough for Seth." Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 1:41
  • "The only thing that will invalidate prayer is being nude." Perhaps this refers to men only because a woman can sit and thereby hide her private parts (Brachot 24a).
    – Yehuda W
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:48

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