Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

An androgynous that has both signs of a male and female, should they be given a female name, a male name, or a "neutral" name (like "simcha" or "yona".) Is there any makor for this?

(I realize this might not be a practical question since there is already a discussion about what to do if someone is born a androgynous and have a medical procedure to change the child one way or another.) However from a standpoint that that wouldn't have been done and that the person would live as they are.)

share|improve this question
As an aside. There is no thing really as a 'Jewish' name or a male or female one. Anyone can be called anything. In a get I am not sure what one does with letters like w ch or g from general which have no Hebrew equivalent. This can also be asked about towns and rivers in the get. – preferred May 16 '14 at 18:19
Chaim Sarah, perhaps? – Yehuda May 16 '14 at 21:43
Sue, perhaps? – msh210 May 18 '14 at 4:11
I would have named the child 'minchas chinuch' – Matt Jun 2 '14 at 18:58
@Matt I don't get the joke – Yehoshua Jun 3 '14 at 11:55

An androgynous is mostly treated [visibly] like a male in Halacha, despite the "dual/uncertain" Halachic status.

  • Mila: An androgynous get a Brit Mila (Rambam Mila Ch. 1:7). Though without a Bracha. (ibid 3:6)

  • Yichud: An androgynous may not be secluded with women, but is allowed to be secluded with men. (Rambam Isurei Bi'ah Ch. 22:10)

  • Marital relations: Homosexual relationships are forbidden with an androgynous, regular intercourse is allowed. (ibid 1:15)

  • Time-bound Mitzvot - like Tzitizit: An androgynous is obligated to do them, like males, but without a Bracha (as per the Rambam who doesn't let women make a Bracha on time-bound Mitzvot for which they are exempt). (Rambam Tzitzis 3:10 )

  • Dress: An androgynous must wear men's clothing, not women's clothing. (Classic: Mishna, Bicurim Ch. 4:2. Actual Tosefta Bicurim 2:3)

  • Haircut and shaving: Shaving Payot and shaving beard with a blade is forbidden for an androgynous. (ibid).

In other words, an androgynous who follows halacha will look like a male - and it makes sense (culture-wise) to give an androgynous a male's name, or at the very least an ambiguous name like Simcha or Yona.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.