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Supposing a Jewish girl wants gender reassignment as male so that she could marry a girl whom she loves dearly. Instead of using scalpel and hormones, every cell in her body is rebuilt as using XY chromosomes, from the molecular level up. We will have this technology in two hundred years, we're on the baby steps of it now, it's called "nanotechnology" aka "molecular engineering". Doctors use the X chromosome from one of her mother's cells, and the Y chromosome from one of her father's, so the new body still has Jewish lineage. She wakes up a fully functioning male, producing sperm, hair, and everything, plus uncut foreskin, so she's a full he now, except for experience which can quickly be learned. Does that new person need a new set of life-cycle ceremonies for him to be acknowledged as a Jewish male, such as circumcision (which seems obvious)?

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closed as off-topic by Shmuel, Gemini Man, Gershon Gold, Danny Schoemann, ray Apr 22 '14 at 14:31

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1 Answer 1

Given that this is totally fictional, it is really not a valid question. However, on a theoretical level, this would classify as "elective surgery" for a forbidden purpose and should be forbidden. It would (at least) be considered the same as a "body transplant" for the sake of vanity (at least) or for performing prohibited acts. At the very least it would be considered "beged isha" or "beged ish", that is, forbidden wearing of "clothing" reserved for the opposite sex. This is besides the prohibition of self mutilation (which also applies here).

Judaism and Cosmetic Surgery

As plastic surgery developed and the options for cosmetic enhancement grew, formal halachic discussion began. In 1961, Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, considered by many to be the father of the discipline of Jewish medical ethics, 3 addressed the American Society of Facial Plastic Surgery at a symposium entitled "Religious Views on Cosmetic Surgery." 4 Rabbi Jakobovits, later Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, discussed the parameters of plastic surgery from a Jewish legal perspective.

After explaining that no responsa had yet been written on the topic, he dealt with the question of whether one may undergo plastic surgery for the purpose of improving one's physical appearance. As Rabbi Jakobovits eloquently described in his classic work, Jewish Medical Ethics: 5

He concluded6 definitively that plastic surgery for aesthetic enhancement is a form of arrogance and vanity (particularly for men) and is forbidden unless the patient meets certain criteria. He later wrote as part of an overview of the Jewish approach to medicine: In the sparse rabbinic writings on the subject, these reservations could be discounted, provided the danger is minimal; and especially 1) if the operation is medically indicated, e.g. following an accident, or for grave psychological reasons; 2) if the correction of the deformity is designed to facilitate or maintain a happy marriage; or 3) if it will enable a person to play a constructive role in Society and to earn a decent livelihood. 7

Note that none of the reasons to allow it are indicated in this theoretical case.

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