Reciting Brachot Bareheaded
What is the status of one who recites a blessing with his head uncovered?
In OC 91:3, the Shulchan Aruch writes, “Some say that it is forbidden to say God’s name with an uncovered head…And some say we should protest those who enter the synagogue with an uncovered head.” This seems to imply that some authorities rule, or that it is preferable, that one not mention God’s name, such as in the course of a blessing, with an uncovered head, but that it is not outright forbidden to do so.
On the other hand, in OC 206:3, the Shulchan Aruch writes, “Even if one is not naked but if ‘one’s heart sees one’s nakedness’ or one’s head is uncovered, it is forbidden to recite a blessing.”
This clearly implies that reciting a blessing with one’s head uncovered is completely forbidden.
Furthermore, in OC 91:5, the Shulchan Aruch writes, “One should not stand [to recite the Shemoneh Esrei] with one’s purse, or with an uncovered head…” This seems to imply that only reciting Shemoneh Esrei with an uncovered head is truly forbidden, but reciting other prayers bareheaded might be acceptable. Another possible interpretation is that “mentioning God’s name,” such as in the course of conversation, is acceptable, but reciting it in the course of a blessing is forbidden.
How do we reconcile these contradictions?
I lean towards the approach that only reciting Shemoneh Esrei with an uncovered head is truly forbidden but that reciting other prayers bareheaded might be acceptable. See Yabia Omer, OC 6:15:3, for a number of other possible resolutions.