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I would like to know if the prohibitions on opposite-gender clothing apply to gentiles under the Noahide laws.

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    Great question!
    – DonielF
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 0:10
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    @donief is it? Why would anyone think this prohibition applies to gentiles? Is it one of the seven? The list of 7 is easily found on Google and I don't see it there
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 0:52
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    I agree with @DoubleAA. Presumably it is not one of the Seven Noahide Laws.
    – ezra
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 3:28
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    @DoubleAA Rav Nissim Gaon writes in his introduction to Brachos, and he cites Chizkuni In Noach (7:21) That there are many mitzvos which must be kept because they make moral and logical sense even without specific commandment. See same in Moreh Nevuchim 3:17, and sefer chasidim 153. So since it explained in meforshim that the prohibitions on opposite-gender clothing is for the moral reason of seperation of the sexes, it may be that Bnei noach are obligated even if not one of the 7 Seven Noahide Laws. Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 7:26
  • @Double there is the idea אינהו וכל אביזרייהו.
    – user6591
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 0:21

1 Answer 1

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+50

Great question!

Thank you to @RibbisRabbiAndMore for his comment above, I just want to expand on what he said and apply it to this case.

This is a big question many poskim talk about, and the following is a translation of how Rav Asher Weiss presents it.

The Original hebrew can be found here: and the video is also there as well:

"The Netziv in his Haskama to Sefer Ahavat Chesed (by the Chafetz Chaim) says that the Goyim are commanded in all rational commandments, including the commandment to practice charity and kindness. It was explained that the people of Sodom were punished because they rejected kindness. This principle is found in the words of the Rishonim.

The Ramban wrote (Beresheit 6:13) about why the decree of the generation of the Flood was sealed specifically due to violence, "And the reason is because it is a rational cause, and there is no need for a prophet to warn them, and furthermore, it is bad for Heaven and creatures.”

Similarly, Rabbeinu Bachaye wrote about the people of Sodom (Beresheit 18:20), "Because they were constant in this sin, therefore their judgment was decreed upon them, for there is no nation in the world that does not practice charity with each other, and the people of Sodom rejected it and were extremely cruel, and even though the Torah had not yet been given, charity is one of the rational commandments and it is abominable for a person to see his fellow in need while he is rich and satisfied and does not have compassion on him to sustain his life... therefore the Hashem destroyed them."

However, the Rishoim did not establish an absolute rule to obligate Goyim in commandments beyond their seven commandments. They only sought to explain the conduct of Hashem who was angered by the nations when they multiplied in condemnation and acted in wickedness and cruelty even in matters for which they were not commanded. But there is no new law to be learned from their words concerning the Goyim being commanded in all rational commandments.

However, the Netziv has a basis in his words from the Chizkuni (Beresheit 7:21), "And if you say, how were the generations of the Flood punished since they were not commanded in commandments? Rather, it can be said that there are several commandments that people are obligated to observe due to the reasoning of the mind, even though they were not commanded, and therefore they were punished. Like Cain who was punished for shedding blood even though he was not commanded about it."

It can be inferred from his words that indeed there are several commandments that people are obligated to observe due to the reasoning of the mind, even though they were not commanded about them. But even from his words, it seems that this is not a comprehensive and absolute rule, but rather there are several commandments that appear to have such a complete and simple rational basis, and only in those are they obligated even though they were not commanded.

Additionally, it is known the words of Rabbi Nissim Gaon in his introduction to Shas that all the inhabitants of the world were commanded in commandments that the intellect of man obligates them, which stem from the inclination of the heart, and he wrote according to his approach that this is what the sages said (in Masechet Hullin there), that the sons of Noah were commanded with 28 or 30 commandments.

However, in my humble opinion, I have already written in Minchat Asher (Beresheit, Siman 43) that if not for his words I would have thought that a person is only obligated in what is commanded by Hashem and not to what he invents from his own knowledge and will. And even though I have elaborated in Minchat Asher (see Minchat Asher, Devarim, Siman 51) that besides the six hundred thirteen commandments, a person is obligated to do the will of Hashem, this is only in what he learned from the Torah itself, from its commandments or from the stories of the words of the Torah, and not in what the intellect obligates and has no source and root in the Torah. And furthermore, it seems from this that even if we accept things as they are, this is only for Goyim, but the Bnei Israel, who stood with their feet on Har Sinai, are certainly commanded only in what they were explicitly commanded and not in what is renewed by the feeling of the heart.

And I was very pleased when I saw again that this is explicitly stated in the Sefer Haikarim of Rabbeinu Yosef Alebo, the great disciple of the Ra’an (3:7), "And for this reason our sages said that at the beginning of creation, man was immediately commanded regarding the 7 commandments as explained in Tractate Sanhedrin... for without the command of G-d it is impossible for them to know the things that are pleasing to Hashem or those that are not pleasing. Cain was not punished for killing Hevel except because he transgressed the commandment of Hashem. And so too the generation of the Flood were punished for the violence that was in their hands, and the people of Sodom for their sin, and Pharaoh for the matter of Sarah the wife of Avraham, because all of them transgressed what Hashem commanded, but without this they would not have been punished.”

Therefore, it appears to us that the generation of the Flood and the people of Sodom and Cain were not punished except because they transgressed the word of the Merciful One, and not because they transgressed a rational measure that is renewed from the inclination of the heart. And it is possible to add to this, as I elaborated at length (Minchat Asher, there), that besides the 613 commandments that the children of Israel were commanded, in them is included a general commandment for every man to do the will of Hashem, and many laws are based on the will of the Lord as we learned from the expositions of the Torah and from its commandments, so too Goyim, besides their 7 commandments, they are commanded with a general commandment to do the will of Hashem in all rational commandments.

However, after the Torah was given, we only have the will of Hashem as it is revealed in the Torah and reflected from it, but before the Torah was given, the Creator of the Beginning created the world and enlightened the heart of man by nature to know good and evil and to choose life, and whoever condemns and violates the will of Hashem is judged. But it seems to Rabbi Nissim Gaon that just as we only have this Torah, so too Goyim only have their 7 commandments and what can be learned from them. I saw a sefer called דור רביעי להגאון ר' משה שמואל גלאזנר זצ"ל בפתיחה באות ב, that the conduct of morality arising from the inclination of the heart of all humanity and accepted by all enlightened people imposes an obligation on all the world, including the children of Israel.

However, he went further and diverged greatly, for he did not merely write that we are obligated in these commandments, and his opinion did not settle until he wrote that these commandments, which have no source in our holy Torah, are greater and more severe than the commandments written in the Torah. And these matters are not only lacking in a source, but they also have no place at all, and they are bewildering."

Conclusion: So to conclude, if the prohibitions on opposite-gender clothing apply to gentiles under the Noahide laws, and we assume like the mefarshim (see mefarshim on Devarim 22:5) that the prohibitions on opposite-gender clothing is for the moral reason of separation of the sexes, then Rav Asher Weiss (who it wasn't clear to me from the article, but expresses his opinion in the video in the link (around 39:10)), agrees and follows like the Chizkuni, Ramban, Rabbeinu Bechaye, and the Netziv only with regard to the Goyim that they are also commanded in logical mitzvot which would include Lo tishlbash.

Sorry for the lengthy answer :)

Hope this helps!

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  • Even greater answer!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Apr 18 at 19:05
  • great source and great answer. I would delineate between "lo yilbash" and the way this would apply to non-jews, in that we recognize lo yilbash to include somethings that do not fall within natural law, like for instance (according to some opinions) the idea that a man should not at all trim his beard. I don't see why a ben noah would be subject to such a prohibition under natural law, cf. my comment to the question.
    – BID
    Commented Apr 18 at 19:23

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