Grinder biohacking involves implanting DIY cybernetics or chemicals into one’s own body which ostensibly give one superhuman abilities. For example, some companies sell implantable NFC/RFID chips to enable one to, I dunno, unlock a door, or use it as a bus pass or credit card. Some people biohacked their eyes to give themselves night vision. This site has some other, uh, interesting examples.

As you might imagine, these kind of implants and chemicals pose a danger to those implanting them, as a grinder is intentionally wounding himself in order to implant these things, opening himself up to infection or worse.

For the purposes of this question, medical devices like pacemakers and cochlear implants are to be ignored. The difference is that medical devices are implanted by a trained medical professional for a medical need, while these devices lack at least the need and often lack the medical professional as well.

It’s my understanding that there is a dispute regarding plastic surgery when it’s not alleviating some form of pain, wherein Rav Moshe Feinstein and the Chelkas Yaakov held that it’s permissible, while Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and the Tzitz Eliezer held that it’s forbidden.

Would the same dispute apply here?

  • Perhaps those who are lenient by plastic surgery would be stringent here. Did they give a blanket permission to wound oneself for a constructive purpose? Or is there something unique to plastic surgery which doesn’t apply to grinding (maybe different levels of constructiveness)?
  • Perhaps those who are stringent by plastic surgery would be lenient here. Did they give a blanket prohibition against wounding oneself except for absolute necessities? Or, since there is a perceived practical benefit in this case, this would be more lenient than plastic surgery, which is merely cosmetic?

Obviously if there is a chance of death it would be strictly prohibited. Assume for the purposes of this question that it’s done in a way such that the chance of death is minimal.

As noted above, grinder biohacking is not sanctioned by the medical community and can cause serious health issues. Please talk with your doctor in addition to your rabbi before trying this at home.

  • I didn't follow all the links, but I noticed that the night-vision one effected a temporary, not permanent, change, while I assume implanted RFID chips are permanent. Did you mean to ask about both types or only permanent alterations? (Interesting question either way.) Commented May 24, 2019 at 22:52
  • The question itself (is interesting but) can be reduced to "plastic surgeries for personal benefit", which you already supposedly answered. So maybe to rephrase it "Halachicly" - "is personal convenience or physiological benefits a sufficient reason to allow going through plastic surgery?"
    – Al Berko
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 17:59
  • I think implanting RF chips is different from biohacking as it only a measure of practicality and not changing anything in your body, while other procedures do try to change human abilities.
    – Al Berko
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 18:01
  • 1
    Re "I can’t imagine those who are stringent by plastic surgery would be lenient here": I can. Plastic surgery is of aesthetic benefit; this is of practical benefit.
    – msh210
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 11:44
  • 1
    @AlBerko I’m describing a real thing which many people practice today and asking the relevant halachos. If you’d like to post an answer detailing why you think it’s okay or not, which directly addresses the points I make here, feel free to do so. The comments are not a place for answering - you know this by now.
    – DonielF
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 14:54


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