We are continuing in our discussion of the halachos of tznius for a girl. The Biur Halacha, at the beginning of siman 75, writes that although we have a general rule that a tefach or more of a woman which is uncovered is considered ervah for a davar shebikdusha (learning, davening, brachos, etc.), it is not a problem for a father vis a vis his daughter until she is of age 11.
We mentioned (shiur 1308) that a woman does not need to be concerned about being uncovered in the presence of a boy until the boy is of age nine. However, the poskim discuss that one must be concerned for the images a young boy will see, and be concerned that those images will remain with him in his memory banks when he is older. Therefore, they suggest that boys over the age of three should not see a woman who is uncovered, such as at a ladies’ swim. Although we may not be concerned about hirhur at that age, they are old enough to understand what they are seeing, and one should be concerned for that memory remaining with the boy (quoted in the name of the Chazon Ish in sefer Imrei Yosher, by his brother in law, Rav Greiniman. Similarly quoted in Orchos Rabbeinu).
Regarding a girl, until age 5 or 6, a girl may be brought to a mens’ swim. The concern is the men vis a vis the girl, which we learned (shiur 1308) does not apply until that age. We are not concerned for the girl vis a vis the men, as there are no elements of ervah involved in a mens’ swim.
There is an issur in the Torah that a man cannot wear women’s clothing and vice versa. This lav applies to a katan in that one may not perform sefiya (i.e., actively dress) on a katan with such clothing, even from a young age. The definition of boys clothing versus girls clothing will be determined by the local culture, but whatever that determination is will be assur. Many items of clothing are unisex, and are not a problem, but something uniquely female or male should not be placed on the other gender.
Regarding the halachos of yichud, the poskim are meikil that when both children are under bar and bas mitzvah, there is no problem of yichud. Once one of the children is over the age of bar or bas mitzvah, that gadol or gedolah now has problems of yichud (even if the katanim do not), if the katanim are above certain ages. Be’ezras Hashem, we will clarify those ages in the next shiur.
- The issur ervah for a girl begins from age three (according to the Mishnah Berurah) or age 6-7 (according to the Chazon Ish). Rabbi Reingold’s mesorah is to be meikil until age 5-6.
- Therefore, a girl should not be brought to a mens’ swim once she is of that age.
- The issur for a father vis a vis his daughter does not begin until age 11.
- Once a boy reaches age nine, other women must dress appropriately around him. However, the poskim suggest being machmir from age three, due to the memories which may remain with him.
- One cannot perform sefiya on a katan by dressing them in clothing belonging to the opposite gender from any age.
- One can be meikil regarding yichud if all of the katanim involved are under the age of bar or bas mitzvah.