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I learned that other than praying, I can talk to G-d throughout the day, while I'm in traffic, or walking to some where ...any time. Now, since it's very hot here where I live , I prefer to be more comfortable in the house, rather than dress modest like when I go out. I know that G-d has no limit, and He made me, and He can see right through me. Yet I'm still a bit confused about whether it's appropriate or no to talk to Him when I'm not so modest in the house. Is it allowed, as long as I strengthen my connection no matter what? Or is it disrespectful since we even need to cover our head to pray? Because even though I might be bored washing the dishes, and decide in the mean time I can say a few words with Him while I'm doing, it's still praying in a way, no? Thought or speech, is still prayer, no?

  • what do you mean by not so modest? hair uncovered? – ray Aug 22 '15 at 18:43
  • Hair uncovered, normal t-shirt and shorts. When I decide to actually pray I dress as if I'm going out, long skirt, sleeves to elbows and hair covered. It would be nice if I could talk to Him any time, like when I need to ask for patience to tolerate my family, or to thank him for my meal. But it's too hot to be completely modest also in the house, all day, with no AC. I forgot to ask if it's allowed to read the Torah when I'm like this as well. I think it's the same thing no? – Pauline Spiteri Aug 22 '15 at 19:12
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Laws for Jews regarding minimum clothing to pray, redding shma or say blessings ... (but it might be more respectful to G-d if you are dressed modestly at home even not praying even no one is their and it is dark)

In short if you wear underwear (using your hand will not help) that covers your pubic area (and for men to cover their heads) it is enough (for blessings and reading the shma, but if you are praying you need to cover your chest) also (but if you are only wearing a robe and you are a man you need to put on a belt or put your hands tight to your body below your chest)

There is a law that one can not be before or with uncovered erva (the public areas (for men there is another level of erva it refers to (hair of a married woman, maybe if it does not cause arousing thoughts it is not considered erva see comment below) the voice of a woman signing, parts of the woman's body that are usually covered (not like the artificial American modesty (that is not based on anything) that only the nipples need to be covered), and her shoik (part of the leg)(sometimes it is only if more then the width of an average fist)) when saying a blessing

(Shulchan aruch harav 74.1

כתוב בתורה ושבת וכסית וכו' כי ה' אלהיך מתהלך בקרב מחניך וגו' והיה מחניך קדוש ולא יראה בך ערות דבר וגו' מכאן למדו חכמים שבכל מקום שה' אלהינו מתהלך עמנו דהיינו כשאנו עוסקים בקריאת שמע ובתפלה או בדברי תורה צריך להיות המחנה קדוש שלא תהא צואה מגולה שם ושלא יראה ה' בנו ערות דבר דהיינו שלא יהיה דבר ערוה כנגד פניו של אדם הקורא או מתפלל כמלא עיניו מפני שעיקר מחנהו של אדם הוא כנגד פניו וצריך שיהיה מחנה זה קדוש שלא יראה בו ה' ערות דבר ואיסור זה הוא מן התורה

והחכמים הוסיפו שהמקומות אשר ה' שוכן בהם בקרבנו שהם ראשו ולבו של אדם הקורא או מתפלל צריך ג"כ שלא יהיו רואים את הערוה דהיינו שלא יהיה עם הערוה תחת מכסה אחד בלי הפסק וחציצה ביניהם (אע"פ שמן התורה אין בזה משום ולא יראה בך כו' כיון שערותו מכוסה נגד בני אדם) לפיכך אם היה ישן ערום ומתכסה בטליתו אע"פ שהוציא ראשו חוץ לטליתו שלא יהיה עם ערותו תחת מכסה אחד הרי זה לא יקרא עד שיחוץ בטליתו על לבו להפסיק בין לבו לערוה שלבו רואה את הערוה אסור והוא הדין אם לבו רואה את ערות חבירו דהיינו שאין הפסק בין לבו לערות חבירו כגון ששניהם שוכבים ערומים ומתכסים בטלית אחד והם רחוקים זה מזה שאין בשרם נוגע אלא שפניהם זה כנגד זה

My translation

It is written in the torah "and you shall return and cover ... For the Lord, your God, goes along in the midst of your camp ... your camp shall be holy, so that He should not see anything unseemly among you" Deuteronomy - Chapter 23.14,15

from hear our sages learnt and in all places that "the Lord, your God, goes along" us, meaning when we are busy in with the reading of the shma, and with prayer, or with words of torah, the "camp" needs to be "holy" that feces should not be revealed there and that the Lord "should not see" by us "ervas dover (anything unseemly)" meaning there should not be a thing of erva across (before) the face of the person that reads or prays as full eyes (as far as his eyes can see) since the main camp of man is across (before) his face and this "camp" needs to be "holy" that the Lord "should not see" in it "ervas dover" that this prohibition if from the torah (biblical)

And the sages added that the places that the Lord rests in them within (by) us they are the head and heart of man, the reader and praying one needs also that (they) should not see the erva, meaning that they should not be with the erva under one covering without a separation and split between them [even though biblically it is not becouse of (a problem of He should not see among you...) Since his erva is covered agents (from) people] so in he was sleeping naked and is covered with his cloak even though he took out his head from the cloak so that it should not be with his erva under one covering , he should not read until he pushes with his cloak on his heart to separate between his heart (the chest in front of his heart) and his erva and if his heart seed the erva it is prohibited (to read the shma or to pray), ...

(Shulchan aruch harav 74.3

 מים אפילו הן צלולין חשובים כסוי לערוה ובלבד שיוציא ראשו ולבו חוץ למים שלא יהיה עם ערותו תחת מכסה אחד כמ"ש סעיף א' ואם לבו תוך המים אם הם צלולים אסור משום לבו רואה את הערוה ואם הן עכורים שאין איבריו נראים בהם מותר לקרות בתוכם והוא מפני שהם חשובים הפסק בין לבו לערוה והוא שלא יהיה ריחם רע שאז צריך להרחיק מהם ד' אמות כמ"ש לקמן ומים צלולים שעל גבי קרקע עוכרן ברגליו ומותר והרוחץ במים צלולים שבכלי שאי אפשר לעכרן ורוצה לשתות אם לבו תוך המים יכסה בבגד ממטה ללבו ויברך

אבל אם כסהו בידו אינו חשוב כיסוי שהלב והיד גוף אחד הן ואין הגוף יכול לכסות את עצמו והוא הדין אם מכסה את ראשו בידיו אינו חשוב כיסוי שיוכל לברך כך בגילוי הראש כמ"ש לקמן בסי' צ"א

water even when it is clear is considered a covering to the erva, only if his head and heart are out of the water, so that they will not be with his erva under one covering and was written in sub chapter 1 (above)

and if his heart is in the water, if it is clear (the water) it is forbidden becouse his heart sees the erva, but if they are dirty that his limbs can not be seen in it (the water) it is permitted to read (shma) in them it is because they are considered a separation between his heart and his erva, this is (only) if their smell is not bad (if it is bad) then (he) needs to distance himself 4 cubits and will be written later

clear water that is on (in) the ground (he can make) them dirty with his feet and it will be permitted (to read shma) and the one washing in clean water in a vessel (tub) that it is impossible to make dirty and he wants to leave his heart in the water he should cover his heart with a clothing and way the blessing   But if he covers (his erva) with his hand if is not considered a covering since the heart a d the hand are one body and (there is a law that) a body can not cover itself, the same law applies of he covers his head with his hand (for a head covering)it is not considered a covering so that he can has a blessing with a uncovered (from a head covering) head ...

(Shulchan aruch harav 74.4

 אם האדם מחבק גופו בזרועותיו ה"ז חשובה הפסקה בין לבו לערוה שאף שהיד אינה חשובה כיסוי חשובה הפסקה כיון שמכל מקום אין לבו רואה את הערוה

If the man hugs his body with his arms it is considered a separation between his heart and his erva (when they were both coved by one thing), even though the (his) hand is not considered a covering it is considered a separation, since anyway his heart does not see the erva

Shulchan aruch harav 74.5

 יש אומרים שהנשים יכולות לברך ולהתפלל כשהן לבושות החלוק אע"פ שאינן מפסיקות למטה מלבן לפי שערותן למטה מאד ואין לבם רואה את הערוה ומכל מקום אם הן ערומות כיון שערותן מגולה ונראית לאחרים אסור משום ולא יראה בך ערות דבר וגו' ואם היא יושבת שאז אין פניה של מטה נראית מותרת לברך אע"פ שהיא ערומה כמ"ש בסי' ר"ו

there are those (legal authorities) that say that women can bless and pray when that are wearing (only) a robe even though that it does not separate below their heart (not like by men that it is necessary to have something like a belt making their heart (I understand this as the chest area) not (so to say) see (be in the same location as) their erva) since there erva is very low and their hearts does not see the erva

But if they are naked since their erva is revealed and can be seen from behind them it is forbidden (to say a blessing and to pray) because of "He should not see anything unseemly (ervas dovor) among you..." (Deuteronomy - Chapter 23.15)

(But) if she is sitting then her face that is below (euphemism for the pubic area) is not revealed, she is permitted (to say blessings and to pray) even though she is naked as I wrote in chapter 206

(Shulchan aruch harav 74.7

 היתה טליתו חגורה לו על מתניו לכסותו ממתניו ולמטה אע"פ שממתניו ולמעלה הוא ערום מותר לקרות קריאת שמע כיון שערותו מכוסה וגם הטלית מפסקת בין לבו לערוה אבל להתפלל אסור עד שיכסה לבו לפי שבתפלה צריך לראות את עצמו כעומד לפני המלך ומדבר עמו שצריך לעמוד באימה אבל בקריאת שמע אינו מדבר עם המלך

If his cloak was tied on his loins to cover his loins and below even though from his loins and above he is uncovered he is allowed to read shma since his erva is covered and also the cloak is separating between his heart and the erva **but to pray it is forbidden until he covers his heart (chest infrunt of his heart) since for prayer you need to see yourself as standing before a king and to speek to him, that you need to stand with fear ** but when reading the shma you are not standing before a king

Shulchan aruch harav 75.2

וכל זה לאנשים אבל האשה עצמה אפילו היא ערומה מותרת לקרות ולהתפלל אם היא יושבת שאין פניה שלמטה נראין כמ"ש בסי' ע"ד ואין בגילוי כל גופה משום ולא יראה בך ערות דבר לפי שאינה ערוה אלא לאנשים ומשום הרהור ולפיכך אף אשה אחרת מותרת לקרות ולהתפלל כנגד אשה ערומה אם אין פניה שלמטה נראין ויש מי שאוסר לאשה אחרת (והעיקר כסברא הראשונה):

all this was for men (that they can't pray when parts of a woman's body that are usually covered (they are considered as erva for him) are reviled) but the woman herself even (though) she is naked is permitted to read (the shma) and to pray if she is sitting (in a way) that her face that is below is not revealed as I wrote in chapter 74, by the reviling of her whole body it is not "He should not see anything unseemly (ervas dovor) among you" since it is not erva only for men because of (intimate) thoughts (that it usually causes) and their for even an other woman if permitted to read (the shma) and to pray across a naked woman if her (the naked woman's) face of below are not seen (but) there are those (legal authorities) that forbid an other woman [and the main (the law) is like the first opinion (that it is permitted)]

Shulchan aruch harav 206.6

וצריך ליזהר מצואה ומי רגלים וגילוי ערוה ולבו רואה את הערוה כמו בקריאת שמע והאשה מותרת לישב ערומה ולברך מפני שבישיבתה פניה של מטה מכוסים בקרקע או בספסל שהיא יושבת עליו ובירכותיה כשתשוה רגליה ותאסף אותן זו לזו משא"כ באיש שהגיד והביצים בולטים ונראים

and you need to be careful (when saying a blessing) from (being close to) feces and urine, and the revelation of erva and for the heart (the chest area by the heart) (not to) see (be in the same location as the) the erva as by the reading of the shma

and the woman (regarding the last 2 point) is permitted to sit naked and to bless, since when she is sitting her face of below if covered with (by the) ground or with (the) bench that she is sitting on and with her thighs when she equals he legs and gathers them one to the other (puts them together) it is not so by a man that the organ and eggs are sticking out and can be seen

  • 1
    "for men it also refers to hair of a married woman" this is not strictly true. It would only be true since they usually cover it and seeing it bared would cause arousal. If one is used to seeing it uncovered, Aruch Hashulchan famously writes it is fine (to see). This should not be confused with erva. – mevaqesh Aug 23 '15 at 4:56
  • Consider shortening this answer; as it stands it is about 6 pages long. – mevaqesh Aug 23 '15 at 15:08
  • if you are in a cave fleeing the romans like Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai then it is ok to make prayers with your private parts in the sand. but is it otherwise recommended? – ray Aug 23 '15 at 17:53
  • @ray You need to bury them in the sand, sitting on the sand only helps a woman – hazoriz Aug 23 '15 at 17:55
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there is much to gain in speaking to God often as the Alter of Kelm wrote (Sefer Zikaron Beis Kelm pg.265) (longer quote here)

"A great principle in joy of the heart and health of the body, and more for the service of G-d is to search for closeness (kirva) to G-d and not closeness to human beings. Besides being a big headache in many ways, there's no greater burden on a person than seeking closeness from other human beings. And what is a man that you want to search for closeness to him? He seems like a friend when it is to his benefit, or when he wants to, but they don't stand by a person in his difficult time (pirkei avos 2:3) But closeness to G-d, although He's not visible, there is no time that He doesn't want.

it may not be a problem halachically as hazoriz points out, nevertheless, as you seem to sense it is self evident that when speaking to the Master of the World a certain amount of respect is due. It may make a person brazen to speak to Him without even the same respect you would give to a human being on the street and one has to weigh whether the loss outweighs the gains.

update: there is a concept of tznius even when alone. the talmud yomah 47 reports that Kimchis had seven sons and all served as Kohen Gadol. When asked what she had done to merit this, she responded, "My whole life, the beams of my house never saw the braids of my hair." which means she felt abashed b4 God even when alone

perhaps you can apologize to Him for not being properly dressed b4 speaking. consult with LOA

  • Yes, but to take the advantage of apologising before, every time I need to say something is also disrespectful in a way. I asked this question because I heard in a lecture, that Hashem is not in the midst of where modesty is not kept. I guess that's what hazoriz quoted from Deuteronomy. Then I thought that I feel like I'm trying to make efforts to be the way my Creator wants, and in the end He's not exactly with me, because I spend most of my time at home. – Pauline Spiteri Aug 23 '15 at 17:55
  • @PaulineSpiteri there is a concept of tznius even alone. the talmud yomah 47 reports that Kimchis had seven sons and all served as Kohen Gadol. When asked what she had done to merit this, she responded, "My whole life, the beams of my house never saw the braids of my hair." which means she felt abashed b4 God even when alone. see also rama on shulchan aruch 1st halacha – ray Aug 23 '15 at 18:00
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    Thank you all for your effort to help. I'm starting to think it's better to stay dressed like this at home as well. Another big step. Not so happy with this conclusion, but Hashem will help to give me a push. He proved to me so far, He helped me with so much. – Pauline Spiteri Aug 23 '15 at 18:02
  • Yes yes, I heard of this in the lecture a while ago as well. I thought it was a bit extreme (obviously, I mean it in a positive way). I can only dream to be so holy. At the time when I heard it, I didn't think to dress modest in the house, since I had started to do it outside, let alone inside! It was summer also! So it's just baby steps. ..thanks again – Pauline Spiteri Aug 23 '15 at 18:11

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