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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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To Wear Is Human, to Live—Divine

To Wear Is Human, to Live—Divine

Parashat Ki Tetse (Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19)

(p.254) Forty-Nine To Wear Is Human, to Live—Divine
Torah Queeries

Elliot Kukla

Reuben Zellman

NYU Press

This chapter interprets a verse in Parashat Ki-Tetse of Deuteronomy, stating that “a man's clothes should not be on a woman, and a man should not wear the apparel of a woman; for anyone who does these things, it is an abomination before God.” The verse has been commonly understood as ban on “cross-dressing.” However, it is not plausible to read the verse in Deuteronomy literally, since wearing the clothes of another gender could not possibly be seen as an abomination. Instead, the Talmud understands the prohibition as: wearing clothes of another gender in order to falsify your identity, and infiltrate spaces reserved for the “opposite” sex, is forbidden.

Keywords:   Parashat Ki-Tetse, Deuteronomy, cross-dressing, abomination, Talmud

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