Ever want to get a tattoo, but refrain from doing so? Fear no more! A reform “rabbi” has now ruled that “there is no blanket prohibition on tattoos,” and rabbis should consider why a person wants to scar their body before ruling out a tattoo.
According to Evan Moffic, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Solel in Chicago, Judaism maintains a “nuanced” view of tattoos. After all, says the “rabbi,” if Jewish law banned tattoos outright, then “survivors of Nazi concentration camps—whose arms were branded with a number—[would be banned] from residing in a Jewish cemetery.”
To back up his peak halacha, the rav cites two ideas: One, that tattoos smack of idolatry. “Some groups in the ancient Near East used tattoos as a way of worshipping gods. Egypt in particular had several gods whose images were frequently tattooed onto bodies and household items,”
Second, he writes that tattooing, does not serve the purpose of “devot(ing) out body to sacred service. Rather, like smoking or drinking, it involves unnecessary dangers, such as harming our skin or causing infection.
The halacic conclusion? “According to this point of view, the content of the tattoo is not as significant as the act of branding itself. The Law is not Black and White.”
Funny enough, Harav Hagaon Moffic fails to cite the Torah verse (Lev. 19:28): “You should not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor imprint any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” Generations of rabbinic authorities have interpreted this verse as… how did the rabbi put it?… as a “blanket prohibition.”
But, hey, what’s an explicit Torah verse when you’re trying to make “Judaism” attractive to non-Jewish society?
About the Author: Meir is a news writer for JewishPress.com - and he loves his job.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.
If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.