We are continuing in Klal 66 which discusses the halachos of chinuch. Today, we will clarify the halachos of tznius vis a vis a katan, which the Chayei Adam does not discuss.
There are two issues regarding tznius as it applies to a girl. First, there are halachos of ervah, which, when present, create issues of speaking divrei torah or tefillah. Second, there is the question of from what age does the chiyuv chinuch begin to teach a katan to dress in accordance with the halachos of tznius. These are two separate questions, and it could be argued that the ages for these halachos are not tied to each other.
Regarding the first question, there is a machlokes between the Mishnah Berurah and the Chazon Ish. The Mishnah Berurah holds that the issur of ervah begins at age 3. Thus, from that age, one cannot (for example) make a bracha around a girl whose legs are not covered over her knee. (The lower leg is a machlokes; the Mishnah Berurah is meikil but others are machmir. Whatever the local minhag is regarding an adult woman would apply to a girl from the age of three as well.)
The Chazon Ish disagrees, and holds that the issur ervah begins when people begin to perceive a girl of having feminine elements. He does not give a specific age, as all girls are different. Some suggest the Chazon Ish would be meikil until age 10 or 11, but Rav Chaim Kanievsky has stated that the Chazon Ish told him that he would not be meikil past the age of six or seven.
Either way, according to both the Mishnah Berurah and the Chazon Ish, if a girl past the respective age of issurei ervah walked into shul and was not properly dressed, the people around her would have to stop davening.
If a shul would like to follow the opinion of the Chazon Ish, but some want to follow the opinion of the Mishnah Berurah, and are therefore complaining that they cannot daven when girls between the ages of the two opinions come to shul, the majority opinion is followed. The minority would either have to submit to the majority or daven elsewhere.
According to both opinions, a father does not have an issue of ervah vis a vis his daughter until age 11. However, this age only applies to the father, not even to her brothers.
- The issur ervah (i.e., to speak torah or tefillah around a girl not properly dressed) begins from age three (according to the Mishnah Berurah) or age 6-7 (according to the Chazon Ish).
- A shul should follow the majority consensus of its mispallelim.
- For a father, the issur ervah does not begin until age 11.