We are continuing in siman 1. The Chayei Adam writes that the ervah of an individual creates an issur for a boy from 9, and for a girl from age 3. The Shulchan Aruch is machmir, and holds even from one day old is assur. However, the Rema holds of the ages mentioned above, because those ages are when a boy and girl are respectively able to execute a maaseh biah.
The Mishnah Berurah points out that even according to the Mechaber, since it is a machlokes rishonim, one would not repeat a tefillah if they had accidentally said a tefillah in front of ervah.
The Chayei Adam hints to the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch, writing that there are some who are machmir from one day old, with the exception of bris millah. According to that opinion, Chazal never made the gezeirah in a situation of mitzvah, i.e., bris millah. According to both opinions, if a child is receiving a bris over the age of 9, they would need to cover the ervah when reciting brachos. The Mishnah Berurah does not appear to require one be machmir for the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch, but lechatchilla one should certainly try to be machmir. Even according to the Shulchan Aruch, one can do hirhur in front of the ervah of a katan (until 9 or 3).
The above discussion regards the primary ervah, which is ervah used for procreation. The Chayei Adam will now continue to discuss other parts of the body. The poskim discuss whether other parts of the body have a din deoraysa or din derabanan. The MIshnah Berurah seems to follow the poskim who hold it has a din derabanan, that it is assur because it can cause hirhur, and this will act as a distraction during Tefillah or Torah. A person cannot claim they will not be distracted, because once Chazel were concerned for this issue, they created an issur regardless of the practical hirhur of a specific person. Nevertheless, because it is derabanan, the Nishmas Adam writes that it may be sufficient to close one’s eyes to avoid the ervah. We will discuss this question further in upcoming shiurim.
- The ervah of a boy over age 9, and a girl over age 3, has a din deoraysa of ervah. It is proper to be machmir lechatchilla from one day old when possible. Either way, hirhur is muttar.