We are beginning siman 7. We have already touched on many of the points in siman 7, but we will nonetheless review them.
The Chayei Adam writes that there is no difference between one’s own wife and other women when it comes to devarim shebikedusha, both regarding an ervah derabanan or deoraysa. In other words, if even a tefach of the parts of one’s wife’s body which are normally covered is uncovered, there is an issur to recite divrei torah or daven.
There is an opinion, brought at the beginning of Orach Chaim siman 75, which holds that regarding other women, the amount which is assur is even less than a tefach. According to that opinion, a tefach is the amount allowed by one’s own wife. This opinion is brought by the Rema, but the Chayei Adam does not bring this opinion. The Nishmas Adam writes that since this question of whether more or less than a tefach is assur is a din derabanan, one can be meikil due to the machlokes. It would appear that this is why the Chayei Adam does not even mention the Rema’s more strict opinion.
The Chayei Adam continues, and writes that a man must be careful that when his wife is nursing, he must refrain from reciting devarim shebikedusha in her presence, because she inevitably uncovers herself in order to nurse. Even though it is muttar for him to see those parts of the body (when she is tehorah), he still cannot recite devarim shebikedusha in their presence. Certainly, one cannot even see those parts of the body on another woman.
The Mishnah Berurah, in siman 75, brings an opinion that the shok (upper leg) is more chamur than other parts of the body, and that even regarding one’s own wife, even less than a tefach is a problem, because it is the closest part of the body to the actual ervah. The Chayei Adam brings this opinion, which would seem to indicate that he holds one should be concerned for it. The Mishnah Berurah seems to hold that this din is also a din derabanan, and we have learned that regarding an ervah derabanan, one can shut their eyes and still recite devarim shebikedusha.
The shok is defined as the upper leg, all the way until the knee.
One cannot recite devarim shebikedusha in the presence of an uncovered tefach of a woman’s body which is normally covered.
It is proper to be machmir regarding the shok of even one’s own wife, and to refrain from reciting devarim shebikedusha in the presence of even less than a tefach.
In regards to shok, closing one’s eyes is sufficient to allow one to say divrei Torah or tefillah.