Is writing on your body acceptable?

Leviticus 19:28 ESV / 471

You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.


Although it's not clear what kind of writing you are asking about, I will assume you mean writing with a surface-level demarcation like a pen, marker, etc. without penetrating the skin. In that case, this article explains

One who writes on his skin without making a cut in the skin which allows the ink to penetrate is exempt from Biblical liability. [Shulchan Aruch 180:1] Nevertheless, some Poskim [Beis Shmuel E.H. 124:16] rule it is Rabbinically forbidden to do so. It is however unclear if this applies even with ink that is erasable. Other Poskim [Shevet Halevi 3:111-1] rule it is permitted to do so even Rabbinically. Practically, the widespread custom is to be lenient even initially. [Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach quoted in Nishmas Avraham Y.D. 180] However, if the ink is permanent and cannot be removed at all from the skin even with the passing of time, one is to be stringent. [Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 253:1]

  • This answer is only being presented in terms of whether it violates the prohibition of tattooing and scarification. In the modern sense of this practice, it is something which is generally intended to mimic the tattoo practice of the non-Jewish nations. There is a general prohibition of following their practices like is discussed in other questions on Mi Yodeya. For example: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/103689/7303 Oct 23 '19 at 21:32

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