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1541 – Brachos and Tefilos – (Klal 4 Siman 4) – Issur Histaklus 1

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1541 - Brachos and Tefilos - (Klal 4 Siman 4) - Issur Histaklus 1

 We are beginning siman 4. The Chayei Adam still has not given us a shiur of the amount of hair which is problematic for devarim shebikedusha, and, in general, how much hair must be covered when a woman is obligated to cover her hair. We will return to these questions after we learn siman 4. 

The Chayei Adam writes that even though we learned (shiur 1533) that the issur of reciting devarim shebikedusha in the presence of (non-primary) ervah only applies when a tefach has been uncovered, and less than a tefach is permitted, it only applies as long as one is not looking directly at the uncovered part. Either way, on a general note, a man is responsible not to intentionally stare at any part of the body of a woman–even a part of the body which is normally uncovered–for the purpose of enjoyment. This issur is known as histaklus. When one does so, they transgress the issur of velo sasuru acharei levavchem v’acharei eineichem. Chazal understand that if a man looks at a woman who is not his wife for the purpose of deriving pleasure, they fall under the category of straying after their eyes. The pleasure derived from gazing is inherently assur, and the possibility where it may lead is a separate assur. 

Some of the issurim which we learned previously (1539-1540) regarding the woman’s responsibility to dress properly will apply to the man as well. Lo sikrevu and kedoshim tihiyu  both require a person to distance from arayos. We also learned that according to the Sema”k, vehaya machanecha kadosh, teaches that both men and women have a chiyuv to be tzanua. That includes the above issue, but it also includes an issue for a man to uncover his body just as a woman has an issur to do so. 

 There is also an issur which applies only to a man. Chazal tell us that if a man thinks improper thoughts about a woman which causes him to be aroused and to be motzi zera, he transgresses the issur of venishmartem mikol davar ra, to distance from bad. 

The Chayei Adam writes that the punishment for transgressing histaklus is great, to the extent that even one who learns and does many mitzvos will not be spared from gehenom. The fact that a part of the body may be uncovered for devarim shebikedusha does not allow for a man to stare at it. 

 The Chayei Adam uses the word histaklus in defining this issur; we will clarify this word in the next shiur, be’ezras Hashem. 


  • Even when a non-primary ervah is uncovered less than a tefach, so it is muttar to engage in devarim shebikedusha, one cannot look directly at the ervah.
  • In general, a man is not allowed to intentionally gaze at any part of the body of a woman, even the normally uncovered parts, for the purpose of enjoyment

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