Thursday, May 30, 2013


Short Pants!

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths


     Is a Jewish man allowed to wear short pants in public? Can he put on tefillin in shorts? Can he go to synagogue wearing them? What about on Shabbos? Can he lead the prayer service wearing shorts? What is the halacha? (Jewish law)

     Like a lot of things in Jewish law, the answer to these questions is, “It depends on who you ask.” This does not mean that the halacha is, “whatever you want to do is okay.” It means that such rules depend a lot on the customs of the people you live and associate with. The actual halacha is that a Jew should dress in an honorable manner. He should bring respect to the Torah by being a proper representative of a Torah lifestyle. This usually means long pants, and even long sleeve shirts.

    That having been said, today we have many communities of religious Jews, such as those who live on the kibbutzim (collective communities) who dress in shorts all the time. In such a community shorts are totally acceptable. There are many pictures of men with shorts and tallis (prayer shawl) and tefillin, so we see that such dress can be acceptable.

     For me, the important thing is that I am able to help them to gain some degree of spiritual awareness. At the Kotel, I try to do this with tefillin. Obviously, I am not going to say, “Go put on long pants and come back so you can put on tefillin.” I am one of those people who believe that we should not keep the sick people out of the hospital

[i] Psalms 136:25


  1. Certainly, the world is becoming a more casual place and halacha does take that into account. In the past, we would dress up to meet kings and presidents, but now we do not. We even see the ceremonies of sparkling soldiers and music instruments as being out of touch with current reality. I remember just 20-30 years ago that people would dress up, almost formally, to take a plane trip, or to go out to eat in a restaurant (non-fast food). These days, we do so less often, maybe just for a wedding. People get onto planes wearing whatever they want, sweatpants, shorts, tights, etc. Casual has taken over.

    Baruch Hashem, I made aliyah. In Israel, you do not need to wear a tie to synagogue :-)



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