If a woman proclaims "I am a male, (and I underwent gender-change surgery)", will she become obligated to observe all mitzvos which men are obligated, because of שוייה לנפשה חתיכה דאיסורא - She rendered herself an entity of prohibition?

[Note: If someone finds a source that says that שוייה לנפשה חתיכה דאיסורא only applies to issurim, (prohibitions), then the question can apply to whether she must keep the issurim which men are obligated. ex. not cutting off peyos, not becoming tamei if she's an offspring of a cohen].

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    To be clear, you are asking whether this formulation is effective at making her obligated to do these actions due to a Neder?
    – Double AA
    Jun 27, 2018 at 18:51
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    @DoubleAA I said nothing about neder. I said שוייה לנפשה חתיכה דאיסורא. If you favor the meforshim who explain it as neder, thats your prerogative, there are other explanations as well.. Jun 27, 2018 at 18:54
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    Is this question specific to transgendering? What about if someone says "I am So-and-So's son"? Is he obligated in aveilus? "What if he says "I am a talmid chacham"? Is he obligated to have a stain-free shirt on pain of death?
    – Alex
    Jun 27, 2018 at 21:38
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    @Alex Maybe - The Rambam says that if someone says I am a Cohen he may not marry a divorced woman and he may not become tamei. But in that case and in your 2 cases we have no idea whether he is saying the truth or not. so maybe he is obligated, or maybe not...In my case she looks & sounds like a woman, will it still work? Jun 27, 2018 at 21:43
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    "that says that שוייה לנפשה חתיכה דאיסורא only applies to issurim" you'd actually need a source to claim that it includes positive commandments, what with it literally talking about issurim
    – user15253
    Aug 2, 2018 at 11:19

1 Answer 1


The statement "I am a man" is either:

  1. a potential issur Gavra (acceptance upon oneself), in which case there is no chaticha deissura which is an Issue cheftza (article that is designated to become forbidden), rather a Shavua see note.* Also See ran Nedarim 2a.

    1. An admission הודאת בעל דין כמאה עדים דמי,but since it contradicts reality and has no effect other than a false statement in the past. see Yevamos 88a-b where it says clearly: eidus that a husband is dead cannot stop her children from another marriage being Mamzer if the husband shows up.

If this is considered option 2 an admission, then it is a Shavuas Shav (false oath) because she is saying "I am a man" and she is a woman not a man.
This is because the only ever recorded Chazal that mentions a man turning into a woman is when Leah was pregnant a 7th time and Hashem turned the male fetus into a female i.e dina see Rashi Bereishis 30,21 but that was a miracle and done by G-d Himself, not by human surgery c"v.

If this is option 1 an acceptance for the future to do Mitzvos of a man, it is a Yad sheeino Mochiach.
Since putting on male clothing is forbidden the very fact that she is intending on being a mumar (reccuring transgresser) by completely disregarding one of G-ds Mitzva shows how not intent on keeping extra Mitzvos she is, so this is a Yad sheeino Mochiach see Making a neder without specifying verbally and there is no evidence that she is making a Shavua in the future to accept mens commandments. So no she does not have to keep Mitzvos intended for men.

*An an acceptance upon oneself in the future even without a reference to the word Shavua can be a yad (secondary type) of Shavua see Nedarim 8a האומר לחבירו נשכים ונשנה פרק זה עליו להשכים.

  • Maybe she intends to only wear unisex clothing
    – Double AA
    Aug 2, 2018 at 2:39
  • @doubleaa if she acts as a man she'll go to the men's bathroom and the whole reason for not wearing men's clothes is inorder not intermingle so even with unisex clothes this woman is an avaryan
    – yosefkorn
    Aug 2, 2018 at 7:35
  • Maybe she intends to only use unisex bathrooms (to avoid this apparent Torah prohibition of entering the wrong bathroom)
    – Double AA
    Aug 2, 2018 at 11:51
  • @doubleaa how about wearing trousers? They might be unisex clothing but they are not tznius so she clearly does not care about Lifnei iver that a man looking at her could sin at night by thinking about her during the day
    – yosefkorn
    Aug 2, 2018 at 12:28
  • 1) she could wear a robe or long coat, 2) she could wear a kilt, 3) if she isn't noticably female then no one will think twice about her later even if she's wearing pants, 4) in the vast majority of places in the world women wearing pants is only noticable in that she isn't wearing tiny shorts. Thus there is no concern that she'd actually be causing someone to sin (who wouldn't have anyway). Where I live I have no concern that a woman wearing pants would cause anyone to sin. Maybe you live in an exclusively Charedi neighborhood and that's why you're concerned?
    – Double AA
    Aug 2, 2018 at 12:34

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