Q: While I realize one should try to be as tzanua as possible, is there an actual prohibition to be fully naked in a women’s pool changing room or communal shower? And is there any specific concern for mother and daughter to see each other naked in such a setting?
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There is no general halachic prohibition on members of the same gender seeing each other naked, (see more about inter-personal erva here), though the Talmud (Pesachim 51a) notes that some relatives should not bathe together, and a son and his father appear on the list. Rashi there explains that seeing his father in this context will lead the son to inappropriate thoughts, when he considers his own origins. Rema (Yoreh De’ah 242:16) clarifies that this refers to when they are fully nude. Aruch Ha-shulchan (EH 23:8) notes that popular practice is lenient, especially when the time-frame is short. We have not seen this discussion extended to females.
We have seen a preference to minimize time spent fully naked when changing, though, even when in private. A communal shower should thus also not be drawn out. But much still depends on context and on local norms. Often it can be uncomfortable for children to see nude adults, even of the same gender, and that should be taken into account.
A parent can take changing in a locker room as a teaching opportunity to model how to maintain tzeniut in this type of setting, respecting one’s own sense of tzeniut and others’, including the child’s.
See more Q&A here.
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