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1542 – Brachos and Tefilos – (Klal 4 Siman 4) – Issur Histaklus 2 – Riyah B’alma

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1542 - Brachos and Tefilos - (Klal 4 Siman 4) - Issur Histaklus 2 - Riyah B’alma

 We are continuing in siman 4. We learned about the issur histaklus, that it is assur for a man to look at a woman for enjoyment. Today, we will continue that discussion 

In siman 75:7, the Mishnah Berurah quotes the Pri Megadim who writes that reiyah, happening to see a woman without intent to gaze, is muttar. The fact the Mishnah Berurah writes that it is muttar means that a person does not even have to go out of their way to ensure they do not see a woman. However, he adds that from a mussar perspective, it is appropriate for a person to work on themselves to avoid any such sightings. The Pri Megadim continues, and brings from a sefer that an adam chashuv has a chiyuv to be more careful, because people will learn from him but take it further than him. If he only does reiyah, others will think they can do histaklus

 The Pri Megadim concludes and writes that regarding parts of the body which are normally covered, even reiyah is assur. 

Going back to the Chayei Adam, even though he wrote (e.g., shiur 1535) that the shiur for any part of the body normally covered is a tefach, this shiur only applies to devarim shebikedusha. In regards to histaklus, any amount is a problem.

 The chiyuv of the man is not to see these parts of the body. Regarding the chiyuv of a woman to cover herself, it would seem that there is no minimum shiur of a tefach, parallel to the man’s issur histaklus. Both of these chiyuvim deal with the kedusha of Klal Yisroel; it is a man’s chiyuv not to look, and a woman’s chiyuv (due to das Moshe) to keep those parts covered.  

We are still left with the question of a woman’s hair, and whether the leniency of a tefach applies to it. We will discuss this question in the upcoming shiur, be’ezras Hashem.


    • 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. This is known as histaklus.
  • Reiyah, unintentional looking without purposeful gazing, is muttar. It is appropriate to work on oneself to avoid such sightings as well, but there is no issur.
  • In regards to devarim shebikedusha, one may recite devarim shebikedusha in front of any non-primary ervah uncovered up to a tefach, issur histaklus notwithstanding.


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