Definition of Shok: What needs to be Covered?

Definition of Shok: What Needs to Be Covered?


Our Sages tell us, “Shok be’isha ervah” (a woman’s leg is considered a private part of her body). Therefore, her legs must always be covered in the presence of men, and Kriy’as Shema may not be recited in front of even part of a woman’s leg that is exposed. There is a discussion among poskim whether the shok is the upper part of the leg including the knee, of if it is the part below the knee. The consensus among poskim, including the Alter Rebbe, is that the shok is the lower part of the leg, and accordingly it has to be completely covered in a tzniyusdige (modest) manner.A woman’s dress or skirt has to reach below her knees and conceal the shape of her body; it needs to be long enough to ensure complete coverage of her knees even while she is sitting, ascending steps, or stepping in and out of a car. Even if her skirt covers her knees, her legs must be adequately covered by tights or stockings, but these do not need to conceal the shape of her legs. Furthermore, even according to the minority opinion that maintains that the shok refers to the upper part of the leg, the lower part of the leg still has to be covered; it just does not have to be such an opaque covering, but it does have to be a covering that blurs the image of the leg.  #292?1

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