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Tzni’ut dress code for men in shul & cemetary

Rabbi Chaim TabaskyAdar I 26, 5774
649
Question
Shalom, Can you please provide a "tzni’ut" dress code for men when attending shul - especially on shabbat, as well as attending a levaya and/or visiting a grave. I live in a VERY "colorful" neighborhood in Yerushalayim, b"H. I am constantly shocked to see a number of men (including 1 or 2 individuals with semichah) going to shul (even) on shabbat in knee length shorts, very shrt sleeved shirts and sandals without socks. there’s absolutely nothing shabbosdik about their attire NOR respectful for a Beit Tefilah that is a temporary replacement for the Beit haMikdash! I noticed it this past Friday night (2/21) and Tefilat Ma’ariv of Motza’ei Shabbat (2/22)... there was no chamsin, the temp was only in the 20s-C. Please clarify the the minimum tzni’ut dress code for men in shul, on shabbat and in a cemetary. Why are men clueless about tzni’ut, and think it applies only to women (in some religious groups)? Your input would be very helpful. TIA. Shavu’a Tov
Answer
As I have written in the past, there is no specific dress code for men. What is acceptable in one locale is totally out of bounds in another. I think your description of a "colorful neighborhood" encodes a much broader phenomenon, and that is that many places do not have defined communities that can set standards for all members. Besides the specific rules for prayer (clothes in which you would great an honored personage) all clothing should be neither demeaning or provocative. That's the rub. What is provocative to one is normal to another. The base issue is the definition of community standards and that is the p[roblem for which I can offer no solution, My advice is 1. if there is a Rabbi or board or gabbais who set up rules for the shul you may respectfully ask if some dress code could be instituted. They may say that they prefer an open atmosphere, or they have no power to change things. Again, in a respectful way you may make it known that the present situation makes you uncomfortable. 2. On the other hand, if your concern is for the proper behaviour of others who are wearing clothes you deem unappropriate, I would advise that you attempt to accept the fact that just as peaple doven at various speeds, with different degrees of intention, etc. so will there be differencews in dress that come with the territory of a "colorful neighborhood"
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