For a religious girl going into the IDF very soon, there are a few questions that are often asked:

  1. Especially in active units, wearing a skirt while on base can be a problem:

    • While crawling, climbing, running, steking, doing press ups, skirts will get ripped more often than pants (also note you only get 3 skirts / pants);
    • A girl wearing skirts in the army will stick out;
    • Someone can see all the way up when you move ( if you can move ).

    Is a girl allowed to wear pants in the army? What are the issues around this?

  2. While all the food in the army is kosher, it is not of hecsherim religious Jews approve of. Which foods is there definitely not a problem with?

  3. Shabbat in the army: what are the halachot for this? I'm not in a regular base, what special halachot should I know about?

Additionally, if I have more questions where can get I more info?

Also what else have I not thought about, but should know?

  • 1
    user775, Welcome to Judaism.SE! Please edit your profile and give yourself a name, unless you like 775 for some reason. For what do do in your own situation, I strongly recommend that you speak to your own Rabbi. This site provides general information, not personal advice. Please edit your question so that it's more general (e.g. "Are female soldiers allowed to wear pants?" instead of "Am I allowed to wear pants?") When that's done, I'll re-open it.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 15:56
  • 2
    The grammar may need to be cleaned up, but I think this is a good, common question, not localized at all.
    – AviD
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 7:28
  • 2
    @AviD Thanks; good job. Now that I see it broken out like that, it strikes me that this should really be multiple questions. CYR may not be what she's looking for, but IMO, it's essential, since the answers to some of these questions are likely very dependent on her individual history and practices. Of course, pointing to the literature on these topics would be very helpful to her and others as well.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 14:42
  • 2
    ...whether there are any halachic authorities who allow it.
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 16:24
  • 3
    Not sure whether this should be a comment or an answer of its own, but... Before getting into what a Jewish girl may or may not do in the army, there's the issue of whether she should be there in the first place. I know that when the drafting of women first arose in the early '50s it caused a storm (as it has several times since then), and that some rabbanim went so far as to say that it is in the category of יהרג ואל יעבור - one would have to be prepared to die rather than to transgress. I don't think that particular formulation is universally accepted, but I also don't know...
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


There are a number of books and websites (including shailot ve'tshuvot of recognized halachic authorities) on the topic of Halachot for Soldiers. I would strongly recommend anyone in this situation consult with your local Rabbi or posek. Below is a list of a few of the sources I know of:

As always, with matters of Halacha, the personal situation and context can affect the ruling given so it is important that you consult with a halachic authority as well as do your own research.

  • Does Rav Nebenzahl speak English? Can one send shailos in English?
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 22:50
  • Rav Nebenzahl does speak English and one can send him shailos in English - as well he gives a weekly English Parsha shiur in the Beit Mitdrash of Netiv Aryeh on Thursday nights.
    – Adam Simon
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 18:04
  1. Pants: Rabbi Adin Shteinzaltz (Even-Yisrael) has written that there may be situations where pants are more modest than skirts, observing that Jewish Yemenite women traditionally wore skirts on top of pants. What I've heard is the general recommendation against pants are because they tend to be more form-fitting than skirts. I know religious women who have been told, in various occupational settings, that loose pants are acceptable; again, talk to your rabbi. (Yes there are some who claim they are entirely prohibited as "men's clothing", but that seems to be less the case today.)

  2. Israeli hechsherim: see this question, describing some of the differences between "more-preferred" and "less-preferred" hechsherim. Many years ago, Rav Goren was visiting the Gruss Kollel and he was asked about the basic kashrut level of rabbanut with regards to terumot uma'asrot. He said (back then) that all were recommended, except for Rabbanut Haifa, which was using a controversial loophole suggested by a young Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. I could also say that chicken & turkey tend to have less kashrut complications than beef, and that anything that says "gelatin" on the ingredients could be more complicated. Keep in mind that Hazal left certain leniencies for soldiers, so basic kosher may be good enough for you. Please make sure you're eating enough to stay healthy and do your job.

  3. Shabbat: training is a complicated question; many things if done in a strange way (such as dialing a telephone with the knuckle of your thumb) become less prohibited, if this works for your situation. As for anything operational, if your commanding officer says it's of vital importance, I heard Rabbi Herschel Welcher in Queens say that an army can't work if soldiers are constantly questioning their orders. I also heard a story from Rav Benny Lau about a soldier who had to write on shabbat, he wanted to write only the things he thought were important. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach told him, al tachshov, tichtov. "Don't think, just write."


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