To my understanding, it is forbidden to dress untidily. Where is the source for this?

  • By "tidily" do you mean "modestly" or "clean looking" - or both? There are different sources for each aspect.
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 15:08
  • Hi @DanF, I mean "clean looking".
    – Malka S
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 15:35
  • It's an explicit marvelous middos machine song! Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


A source which comes to mind is Shabbas 114a which talks about talmidim chachamim who are obligated to dress nice and the gemera goes so far to say that one is chayiv missa if they have certain stains on their clothing .

The Rambam codified this in Hilchos Deos 5:9 . From what I know it is only talking about a chacham (talmid chacham).

  • Hi @sam Thanks for the answer. Is there anything that applies to lay people?
    – Malka S
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 15:40
  • ד. התפלה היא במקום הקרבן ולכך צריך ליזהר שתהא דוגמת הקרבן בכוונה ולא יערב בה מחשבה אחרת כמו מחשבה שפוסלת בקדשים ומעומד דומיא דעבודה וקביעות מקום כמו הקרבנות שכל אחד קבוע מקומו לשחיטתו ומתן דמו. ושלא יחוץ דבר בינו לקיר דומיא דקרבן שהחציצה פוסלת בינו לקיר וראוי שיהיו לו מלבושים נאים מיוחדים לתפלה כגון בגדי כהונה אלא שאין כל אדם יכול לבזבז על זה ומכל מקום טוב הוא שיהיו לו מכנסים מיוחדים לתפלה משום נקיות: for davening one should be dressed 8n clean clothing this refers to everyone
    – sam
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 16:06

Messilat Yesharim 20:23: (Sefaria.org translation)

Our Sages of blessed memory tell us (Shabbat 10a), "Rava bar R. Huna would put on beautiful clothes and pray, saying, 'Beautify yourself before your God, Israel (Amos 4:12).' " And in relation to "the fine clothes of her son Esau" (Genesis 27:15), R. Shimon ben Gamliel said (Bereshit Rabbah 65:16), "I served my father ... but when Esau served his father, he wore only regal garments." If a creature of flesh and blood is served in this manner, how much more so should one take care to be dressed respectfully when he stands to pray before the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed be He, and to sit before Him as one sits before a great king.

In this paragraph, we see a suggestion that nice clothing is important for both praying as well as otherwise. It is interesting to note that the example for non-praying situations is taken from Esav's example. (AFAIK, he was not a "davener".)

BTW, there seem to be more sources that concentrate on the need to look tidy on Shabbat and Yom Tov, but there is different reasoning for that.

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