Hukot HaGoyim in this case is something done specifically by gentiles and therefore it would be prohibited (see S"A Yoreh Deah 178). So my question is, would jeans fall under this category?

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    This question could be improved by clarifying what the issue might be or explaining "hukot hagoyim". Dec 19, 2011 at 2:39
  • Also, I should mention that in some communities in Israel, people wear Jeans on Shabbat because they are so much more expensive than "slacks"
    – avi
    Dec 19, 2011 at 7:02
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    @Avi I don't see the most frum people around the world wearing them (doesn't mean anything) but it's just a thought. Dec 19, 2011 at 13:53
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    H'Gabriel, please edit your question to include as much information as you can on why you think "Hukot HaGoyim" would be an issue here as well as, as @MonicaCellio recommended, a definition/explanation of that term or at least a link to one.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 19, 2011 at 16:00
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    H'Gabriel, your latest edit doesn't do much to clarify the question. There is no gentile law about wearing jeans.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 19, 2011 at 16:12

4 Answers 4


So long as it isn't indecent, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:81) writes that it's not a problem. I've written it up here.

And for those who don't believe me, here's what it looks like in the original responsum:

Scan from Igros Moshe

Link to the pdf: page 1, page 2.

Specifically regarding jeans it's even easier as we know where jeans come from -- gold prospectors who needed rugged clothing. If the origins of a practice are pagan, prurient, or make such zero sense that you'd obviously only be doing it to emulate the non-Jews, then it's a problem. None of that is the case here.

  • By the way there is a sign up in The Community Synagogue of Monsey (Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler's shul) that "dungarees" (i.e. jeans) -- are not appropriate wear for praying. But that's a different issue entirely ...
    – Shalom
    Dec 19, 2011 at 16:39
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    You're not supposed to pray unless you're dressed "nicely." Rabbi Tendler feels that jeans don't qualify for that -- if you were working in the yard you'd wear jeans (which is fine), but if you suddenly got called to meet the Governor you'd probably switch to "proper" slacks. He's fine with you wearing jeans all day long -- just not for prayers. Then again you're supposed to take off your overcoat for prayers too -- not because there's anything wrong with wearing an overcoat, but because you wouldn't meet the President while wearing one indoors.
    – Shalom
    Dec 19, 2011 at 17:44
  • Is he a Posek?? Dec 19, 2011 at 18:02
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    Yes, Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler is most definitely a posek. This was simply the sign he was posting in his own shul about recommended dress. (This is also subject to local cultural norms, obviously.)
    – Shalom
    Dec 19, 2011 at 18:11
  • I just remembered! The Kila Ilan was used to make Levi jeans a while back, no? The Ben Ish Hai (B"Y Baba Mesia 61b) writes that the Kila Ilan is part of the Sitra Ahra therefore there are some that don't wear jeans. Dec 26, 2011 at 2:55

Rav Musafi says that in a place where people that dress modestly don't wear jeans, one shouldn't wear them. Therefore I would assume there is no issue of Hukot HaGoyim. http://www.doresh-tzion.co.il/QAShowAnswer.aspx?qaid=65856

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    Who's Rav Musafi? Does he say anything indicating that his reasoning is related to chukat hagoyim?
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 8, 2012 at 16:48
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    @IsaacMoses Rav Mutzafi is one the most prominent Sefardic Rabbis in the world today, and I didn't see him say anything about chukay hagoyim. Jan 8, 2012 at 16:53

R Shlomo Aviner answers this question in his book On the air p. 114.

He writes that it is only chukot ha-goyim if the non-Jews are the only ones who wear a particular type of clothing. If observant Jews also wear them, there is no such problem. As such it depends on the time and place.

He notes that if the pants stick to the body and outline its contours, then it is not modest for men, and all the more so, for women, no matter what the material is.

He brings as support Tshuvot HaRashba V:121 as well as the Igrot Moshe quoted in one of the answers here.

  • What do you mean by "no matter what the material is"?
    – Orion
    Jul 20, 2018 at 3:18
  • Jeans or not: non-jeans tight pants would be forbidden because of modesty
    – mbloch
    Jul 20, 2018 at 3:19

R Yaakov Ariel (Shut Beohala shel Torah 1:23) brings a proof from the Vilna Gaon that if non-Jews do a certain thing that we would have done anyway, there is no interdiction of hukot ha-goyim.

The Gra writes this in YD 178 sk 7

אלא דודאי הכל אסור רק דוקא ללמוד מהם אסור וכמש"ש כיון דכתיב לא מינייהו גמרינן ול"ד משום דכתיב באורייתא אלא כ"ד שהיינו עושין זולתם מותר וכן במלבושים

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