The first Mishna in Massekhet Arakhin opens with the expression ha-kol ma’arikhin ve-ne’erakhin – everyone takes vows of valuation and everyone is valuated – for the purpose of the vows of arakhin that are described in Sefer Vayikra (27:1-8). According to the Torah, when someone accepts upon himself to contribute the value of himself – or of another person – to the Temple using the formula of arakhin, they will have to pay according to the values established by the Torah based on gender and age.
Included in the Mishna’s list of individuals who are fit to take vows of valuation but cannot be valuated are people who are found to be either a tumtum or an androginos. Each of these conditions refers to a situation where the person’s sexual identification is questionable. An androginos appears to have both male and female sexual organs, while a tumtum does not appear to have any external sexual organs that would identify it as either male or female. Only a definite male or definite female are valuated.
According to the Gemara in Massekhet Yevamot (daf 83) there is some question about how to approach people with these conditions. Rabbi Yosei suggests that an androgynous is a beryah bifnei atzmah – a unique creature who cannot be treated either as male or as female. The rishonim have different approaches to the definition of beryah bifnei atzmah. Tosafot understand the concept as a permanent situation of safek, of doubt, suggesting that since we cannot expect to ever ascertain whether the individual is male or female we refer to such a person as a unique creature. The Ramban, on the other hand, accepts the simple meaning of the expression, and rules that an androginos is truly viewed by the halakha as a creature that is neither male nor female.
Medicine recognizes two types of androginos. A true androginos has both male and female sexual glands, while a Pseudohermaphrodite has the appearance of both male and female sexual organs, although the individual actually has only one set of sexual glands.