Covering the Chest

Tznius for Men: Covering the Chest

A new fashion has been creeping in even amongst otherwise observant Jews, for men to sometimes dress in a way that their chest is exposed. According to the halachos of tznius for men, the chest is one of those areas that should usually be covered, and exposing it raises serious halachic issues: One is not permitted to daven Shemonei Esrei when his chest is exposed. Whereas it is permissible besha’as hadchak (when one has no other option) to say Kriyas Shema and brochos in such a state, it is nevertheless inappropriate. A man whose chest is uncovered should not lead the services, nor read from the Torah; it is written that a person should not put on tefilin unless his heart?which refers to his chest?is covered. If one’s chest is exposed, he should not open the Aron Kodesh, since doing so would be immodest and inappropriate. Regarding tzitzis, the Arizal wrote that they are to be worn in a manner that always covers the chest.

Practical Halacha: One minute a day. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, shlita, Mara D'asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.