The first subject addressed in this siman is the notion of ‘tznius’ (modesty) before Hashem. Now, on one hand, Hashem created our bodies, and we should not be ashamed of them. On the other hand, modesty even in private is one of the greatest ways of demonstrating that we acknowledge Hashem’s presence everywhere at all times. Therefore, one should be mindful of keeping his body parts covered whenever it is not necessary for them to be uncovered.
Stay tuned for more on getting dressed… Shavua Tov!
MBY 2:3-6 Halachos of getting dressed (part 2 - final)
The following items are included under the halachos of getting dressed:
1) Dignity (particularly for a ‘Talmid-Chacham’ – Torah Scholar): One should be careful never to wear his clothing inside-out; clothing should be clean, neat and stain-free at all times, and they should be of average quality - not too fancy, not too simple.
2) Right before left: As a general rule, the Torah gives priority to the right side over the left. (Note: In many applications, this is the same for “righties” and “lefties”.) This affects the way we dress as well: if clothing has a right side and a left side, the right should be put on first. The well-known example is shoes, but this principle is not limited to shoes. For tying the shoes, there is a different criterion: the Torah uses the term “You shall tie” regarding the mitzvah of ‘tefillin shel yad’ (hand tefillin). The Sages teach that one should always first tie the side on which the tefillin are tied to the arm. Thus, both a “rightie” and a “leftie” put the right shoe on first. However, the “rightie” ties his left shoe first and the “leftie”, his right! Right?! When removing the shoes (or other clothing) the order is reversed: first the left is removed, then the right. This order also affords honor to the right side. On a related note, according to the Talmud, the head is the “King of the limbs”, and therefore it should be given priority treatment over the rest of the body, when applicable.
3) Washing and anointing. The above preference to the right side (and the head) does not apply only to clothing, but even to washing and anointing the body! (So think about that next time you are in the shower!)
4) All systems go! At the beginning of the day – particularly as one prepares himself for morning tefila - one should attempt to use the restroom and make sure that his digestive system is clean.
5) The Shulchan Aruch even teaches us how to walk as a Torah Jew:
a) Do not walk with your head “high and mighty”, i.e. in a haughty posture.
b) A man must keep his head covered - certainly when making brachos, learning Torah, or walking around outside. The Mishnah Berura teaches that ideally one should have his head covered even when sitting at home – hence the common practice of wearing the ‘yarmulke’ at all times. If one needs to make a bracha but is without a ‘yarmulke’, he may cover his head with his sleeve, but not with his bare hand or arm, because one’s body cannot cover itself! (Ed: I remember learning once that one person may put his bare hand over another person’s head!) c) In general, one should not walk barefoot, unless that is the norm in a given situation.