It seems that the issue of a woman wearing pants is a heated one and there are varying opinions as to why it is a problem. Assuming that Beged Ish is not a problem (pants that are specifically made for women) and assuming that they are tzanua (baggy etc), is there still a problem regarding Dat Yehudit?

Most mainstream orthodox people I know don't wear pants. Is there a large enough faction of religious, Halacha conscientious, Jewish women who wear pants? If yes, can one say that it is common enough in the religious Jewish world to wear pants and therefore Dat Yehudit no longer applies in this case?

I am interested in the customs of the Halacha conscious modern orthodox community. It seems to me that it is more common for woman to wear pants within those communities, in contrast to the more mainstream rightwing orthodox.

  • Why would Dat Yehudit be relevant if they are Tzanua? – Double AA Nov 14 '17 at 12:38
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    @DoubleAA the reason I begin by saying that they are tzanua is because they need to be objectively tzanua to even have the discussion. the moment they are not tzanua, they are no longer acceptable on any level. The issue is, some people may define modest (not skin tight, cover lower regions with longer shirt) as tzanua and some don't. which to me seems like it enters the realm of Dat Yehudit. If a large enough faction of Halacha conscientious Jews wear pants that don't violate the core halachos of pritzus, this would alleviate the Dat Yehudit issue. – nameloc Nov 14 '17 at 12:51
  • @nameloc do you have any reason to suppose that a 'large enough faction' would be enough to change Dat Yehudis on any issue? e.g. somewhere where we find such a concept? – user15253 Nov 14 '17 at 13:11
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    @Oranges no, I am not fully familiar with the concept. But from my limited research, it seems to me that the halachos of Dat Yehudit are slightly subjective and flows with the times. For example in some communities (Chassidish?), they say that you need to cover arms until the wrist which to many in the mainstream is above the letter of the law. If one were to move to said community, they would need to follow those norms. But if one lets say moves out of those communities, and "a large enough" faction of the religious jews don't cover arms until wrist, they would no longer have to do so... – nameloc Nov 14 '17 at 13:21
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    @Orangesandlemons The Rambam says a woman who goes out in public without a Redid violates Dat Yehudit. Clearly everyone nowadays assumes that doesn't apply anymore. Obviously this makes sense MiSvara since we're talking about customary practices which by definition depend on custom. – Double AA Nov 14 '17 at 13:22

Answering this part of the question:

If yes, can one say that it is common enough in the religious Jewish world to wear pants and therefore Dat Yehudit no longer applies in this case?

If, as you seem to assume in the question, there was problem from the side of Dat Yehudis to start with, and it was the sole problem, you are effectively saying that any woman who started wearing those was doing so contrary to Dat Yehudis.

It seems a stretch to call this behaviour 'Halacha conscious' considering how severely transgressing Dat Yehudis is considered.

Furthermore, (and this is important if you argue that people genuinely thought it was permitted in halacha), there is a strong reason to believe that things that fall Dat Yehudis may not reversible at all; and that is stronger than mere minhag.

Once again, please note that all of this is based on the assumption that there is a problem of Dat Yehudis in the first place

Edited to correct an assumption I made about Dat Yehudis

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the question of women wearing pants was not an issue until recently (past 100 years or so). So naturally, the default position in the Jewish world was that of wearing skirts, would not constitute Dat Yehudit? – nameloc Nov 14 '17 at 13:15
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    "considering how severely transgressing Dat Yehudis is considered." Umm.. how severe is it? It has no punishment that I know of. Who even says it's a prohibition to be transgressed? All you know is that after a warning it's grounds for divorce because it breaks the [default] understanding between the parties of the marriage. If the husband is ok with it then he doesn't even have those grounds! That's like the least severe thing to be transgressing that I can imagine. – Double AA Nov 14 '17 at 13:24
  • @DoubleAA see here dafyomi.co.il/gitin/halachah/gi-hl-090.htm – user15253 Nov 14 '17 at 13:30
  • @Orangesandlemons I don't see anything new... – Double AA Nov 14 '17 at 13:32
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    I suppose my question has two parts: 1) Is Dat Yehudit fluid? Does it change with the times? (from above comments to my original question, I think that it does). 2) If Dat Yehudit does change with time, is it fair to make the analysis that there are enough Jews wearing pants thereby making it mutar from the Dat Yehudit perspective? Perhaps a clarification as to textual basis and intricacies of Dat Yehudit would be helpful if someone can provide that... – nameloc Nov 14 '17 at 13:34

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