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.)

  • 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
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 18:19
  • 1
    Chaim Sarah, perhaps?
    – Yehuda
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 21:43
  • 1
    Sue, perhaps?
    – msh210
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 4:11
  • I would have named the child 'minchas chinuch' Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 18:58
  • @Matt I don't get the joke
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


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.

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