Covering the collarbone

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    I am an FFB woman and I was always told that the shirt needs to go to the collarbone and you have a tefach of leeway in that you can go to the side a bit or in the back. Lately several people have been giving me a hard time over the boat neck style shirts that I like to wear which show part of the collarbone and goes a little bit to the sides.

    Can anyone help me find a source?




    The Toras Histaklus by Rabbi Binyamin Zilber says the reason for covering the collarbone is to not reveal the flesh as it starts sloping towards the body. Therefore the issue is not covering the collarbone but rather not revealing the flesh below the collarbone. Therefore if part of the collarbone is covered you have fulfilled the requirement.

    The Queen

    The tznius book, (I think it’s Rabbi Falk, correct me if I’m wrong) says you should cover the areas that are outside a necklace worn. meaning where the necklace lies naturally may be uncovered, further out the side and back, keep it covered.



    and is that necklace 16″ 18″ 22″ or 14″ in length? Are those pearls matinee or opera length?

    Even more perplexing is a rigid necklace that would open up more space right to left than a chain that hangs.

    The information you give leaves much to interpretation.

    This reminds me of a chasanah I attended more than 50 years ago. The boy was a BT and the girl from a Brooklyn Chasidic sect. Her future mother in law was told to wear a dress that had a high neck and long sleeves, she arrived at the hall in such a gown, but it had cut outs in the bodice and an open back.

    My mother A”H rushed over and quickly wrapped her own mink evening wrap around this lady, explaining that she’d be much more comfortable that way.

    The Queen

    lawyer: The length of the necklace doesn’t matter, because it is only to see what needs to be covered on the sides and back of the neck, in the front, the collar bone needs to be covered, no necklace needed. It should be a chain necklace which hangs loosely (not a rigid necklace). I hope you find this a little clearer.

    I didn’t think I need to add this, but just in case it isn’t clear, everything beyond the necklace, side and back, including the back and bodice, needs to be covered. Sorry if this sounds preachy. I don’t make the halachos, I just keep them.


    The queen, I learned what you said, but I think a bit more is acceptable in some communities (not mine, just accounting for differing understandings)


    Some communities are a bit more acceptable of what isn’t so acceptable in halacha.


    The obligation to keep anything covered that is supposed to be covered (not addressing what areas might be included) has nothing to do with any shiur tefach.

    Tefach b’isha ervah is the source for a man not being permitted to say kriyas shema (or any devorim shebkedusha) when his wife – and all the more so another woman who is ossur to him – reveals a tefach or more of what is supposed to be covered. Up until that tefach, he is still allowed to say any of the above.

    It has nothing to do with how much a woman can allow herself to be uncovered.


    Son (no pun intended), I think you may find that Reb Binyamin Zilber disagrees with you.


    Son is right. Whatever leeway may or may not be allowed regarding the collarbone itself vs. below it, it is hard to see what a Tefach has to do with it. Does R’ Zilber specifically state otherwise?


    son and mobico: That is incorrect. Just because you only learned OC Siman 74 and not the rest of Shulchan Aruch doesn’t mean that relevant Halachos aren’t included in the other Simanim.


    pcoz and Sam2:

    I’m always happy to learn new things.

    Where would you suggest I look?

    Edit: Found the mekor sourced for R’ Zilber; I’ll have to track it down to see it inside.

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