Standing undressed in front of Shabbos candles


Not to stand naked before a candle:[1]

One is not to stand before a candle naked as all that stand naked before a candle become crippled. [Nevertheless, in the Poskim we find a number of disclaimers towards this warning: Some[2] explain that this danger only applies when standing still in front of the candle. It is however permitted to walk by the candle, even if one is unclothed. Others[3] write it only applies when one stands in very close proximity to the candle, and not from a distance, even if he is able to benefit from the light. Others[4] rule that this danger only applies towards adults, and not towards children.]

Shabbos candles:[5] It is customary to cover the children [and certainly adults] so they not be naked in front of the [Shabbos] candles due to it being a belittlement of the Mitzvah [Bizuiy Mitzvah]. [This applies even if one is at a distance from the candles, and even if the child is not standing in front of the candles.[6] This applies even if only the Erva is revealed while the remainder of the body remains covered.[7] Thus, one is not to change a baby’s diaper in the same room as the Shabbos candles. The same applies against doing any belittling matter in front of the candles.[8] The same applies to any other Mitzvah candle such as a Havdala candle, Chanukah candles, and candles of a Shul.[9] It however does not apply to a Yartzite or Yizkor candle that is lit at home.]

[1] Admur Shemiras Haguf Vehanefesh 9; Admur 275/13 in parentheses “It is customary to cover the children so they not be naked in front of the [Shabbos] candles due to Bizuiy Mitzvah (and also during the week there is danger to stand before the candles naked).”; Pesachim 112b; Derisha 275/1; Elya Raba 275/14; Beir Heiytiv 275/10; M”B 275/27

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that in today’s times there is no longer a danger involved in this matter, as the natures have changed since the times of the Talmud. [Tosefes Shabbos 275/16; Teshuros Shaiy 51; Zecher Yehosef 28

[2] Chikreiy Halachos 1/32

[3] Roshei Bashmayim 6; Makor Chaim 5; Zecher Yehosef 28; See Yabia Omer Y.D. 3/7

[4] M”B ibid in name of Elya Raba 275/14

[5] Admur 275/13; Rama 275/12; Darkei Moshe 275/4; Rokeiach 45

[6] See Chikreiy Halachos ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[7] Kaf Hachaim 275/41

[8] Kaf Hachaim 275/42

[9] Levush 275; Tosefes Shabbos 275/16

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