Re: Women wearing pants
Mon, 30 Dec 1996 09:16:17 -0500

There have been many discussions lately in the Torah forum regarding women
wearing pants. In vol. 3 # 6, Tanya Scott mentions that Pakistani women
(presumably non-Jews, no Jews live in Pakistan), wear women's pants and
cover them with saris. I have personally seen religious older Yemenite
Jewish women in Israel wearing similar loose baggy pants, sometimes with
dresses over them. This seems to be the custom in many Eastern countries
among Jews and non-Jews alike. This leads me to think that the issur
(prohibition) of women wearing pants is not absolute, universal nor
ancient. Instead, there seems to be an issue of "minhag hamakom," involved.
In places where it's been acceptable and the custom for women to wear
specifically women's pants it was allowed. In places where it wasn't
accepted it was disallowed. If this theory is true it would be acceptable
in Yemenite communities for women to wear women's pants but not acceptable
in Boro Park or anywhere in which the custom is not to allow it. If the
pants are specifically women's pants then the issue of "beged ish," (men's
clothing), wouldn't exist. That the pants should be modest in nature
should be a given in all Jewish communities.

Sam Kosofsky