According to Halacha, Lo Yilbash (the prohibition of cross dressing as the opposite gender), is based on what is customarily considered men’s clothing/women’s clothing in a region (מנהג המדינה).

My question is, what is the Shiur (size) of the region that determines this? Is it countries, cities, or something else?

For example in Scotland men wear kilts which are like skirts and would generally be considered women’s clothing in the rest of the UK, do Scots follow the region of Scotland or the majority of the UK as a whole?

Similarly some things which are considered men’s clothing in America may be women’s clothing in another city or state.

What exactly is the size of the geographic region we determine this off of?

  • 2
    The answer to this question is הַכּל כְּמִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה. This is a term used throughout halachic writing and has a specific meaning. If you'd like to know what it means, may I recommend untying this question from Lo Yilbash, and just asking what הַכּל כְּמִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה means
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 19, 2023 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


The Mishneh Torah Hilchot Avodah Zara, upon which the Shulchan Aruch on this seems to be based, states הַכּל כְּמִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה - everything goes after the local custom.

It's a term that is very clear and understood (so much so you'll struggle to find any source actually defining it because it is so obvious). You can't pinpoint it to a "geographic size" as seems to be presumed in the question; it can be any size, and therefore even the smallest size can be relevant. If you find one town in Scotland where men never wear kilts and would be considered "dressing like a woman" for doing so, then that would be the מנהג המדינה, even if the wider region all wears kilts.

That's what הַכּל כְּמִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה means - whatever applies to you where you are.

E.g. if a man's locals would consider him to be dressing like a woman if he wore a specific garment or adornment (and the converse), then it would fall under Lo Yilbash. I say "fall under" because even then, it might still be ok, depending on other factors such what the purpose of wearing it is and what else one is wearing - this mitzva is quite complex, and interesting, with a lot of striking opinions.

Either way, always CYLOR about practical questions.

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    Yes, I’m sure OP knows this. But what determines the size of the medina in regards to the minhag hamedina? A city?
    – ezra
    Dec 18, 2023 at 23:13
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    With all due respect you didn’t answer the core of my question (what is the definition of locale) at all
    – Kirk
    Dec 18, 2023 at 23:15
  • Sorry I thought it was clear. This phrasing is invoked a lot in Chazal, and it generally means whatever applies to you where you are at the time, regardless of how large or small a region that applies to. I'll think of a way of improving the answer, thanks for the feedback so far
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 19, 2023 at 0:20
  • Marit ayn applies even if you're alone Dec 21, 2023 at 14:55
  • So, can I wear women's clothes in my home, because that's the minhag in my home?
    – Lo ani
    Dec 21, 2023 at 18:28

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