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Lo shibash etc...

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Rabbi Daniel Kirsch

Iyyar 7, 5782
Question
Hi, I recently heard a shiur about the issur doraisa of ubechukoseihem lo sayleichu and that included in that are different types/styles of clothing that come from the goyim so i wanted to know a little more what the gedarim are for this for example i like buying certain styles of underwear with different colors /designs etc... i wanted to know if/when that could be a problem of the aforementioned issur or even Lo silbash... for example -who is kovea what is considered a ladys color or style
Answer
Thank you for your question, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein discussed this topic, and he explains that there is nothing inherently wrong in wearing clothing that the goyim also wear, it is permitted. The problem can occur when the clothing is not considered modest (not 'tzenuah' clothing). In a case where the non-Jewish clothing is is not modest, then beside the problem of the tzniut (modesty) there is also a problem of 'bechukotehem lo telechu'; meaning, it is forbidden to go in the direction of the goyim. Effectively, there are two violations at that point. (see Rema: Yoreh Deah 178:1) and Igrot Moshe (Yoreh Deah, part 1, siman: 81). In the answer above we are speaking only about clothing that is immodest. However, in the case where the clothes are mainly modest, but not 100%, it would also be a violation of 'bechukotehem lo telechu', If, but only if, Jewish women do not wear these clothes and non-Jewish women do wear them. (for example, red clothes were considered off limits and only for non-Jews, as red was considered a color that overly attracted the eye. Today, however, many say that red clothing is not considered problematic). If Jewish women also wear these not completely modest clothes, then there is no prohibition of bechukotehem lo telechu. Perhaps, unfortunately, this is often the case, since it is not unusual that Jewish women also wear clothes that are not super modest. I don't see any modesty problem with different colors and styles of underwear since it's not for strangers to see. Regarding 'lo silbash' (wearing clothing of the opposite gender); if the clothing is worn solely by men then a woman would not be allowed to wear it. However, if men mainly wear it but women also wear it at times, then it isn't forbidden (see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, 182:5). In summary: if a woman buys normal clothes that are relatively modest she is not violating the prohibition of bechukotehem lo telechu. All the best
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