If the Torah forbids tattoos, why doesn't it ban peircings. Isn't it self harm? If you could quote your sources that would be appreciated.

  • 1
    the justification for piercing is covered, I think, in this question judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/29293/…
    – rosends
    May 16, 2022 at 23:44
  • 5
    Not sure I understand what tattooing has to do with piercing.
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2022 at 23:48
  • 2
    The prohibition is needles with ink. Needles without ink isn't included even if it's self harm
    – robev
    May 17, 2022 at 5:07
  • 1
    iirc piercings may be an issue for men under beged isha
    – ezra
    May 17, 2022 at 6:01
  • 1
    @ezra in our society probably, but that depends where and when you live. It's not a fundamental problem.
    – Heshy
    May 17, 2022 at 10:01

1 Answer 1


For an explanation why piercings would not be considered self harm/mutilation click here

Getting a tattoo is a torah violation of the following pasuk in ויקרא פרק י"ט פסוק כ"ח :

וְשֶׂ֣רֶט לָנֶ֗פֶשׁ לֹ֤א תִתְּנוּ֙ בִּבְשַׂרְכֶ֔ם וּכְתֹ֣בֶת קַֽעֲקַ֔ע לֹ֥א תִתְּנ֖וּ בָּכֶ֑ם אֲנִ֖י יְהֹוָֽה׃

You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am יהוה.

Even though the pasuk mentioned the prohibition of tattooing alongside gashing oneself, each one is a separate prohibition. As stated in Ramabam הל’ ע"ז פרק י"ב הל’ י"א ,Shach 180/6 and Chinuch Mitzvah 253, the prohibition of tattooing is because worshippers of idols would tattoo images of their gods onto their skin. Hence, there is no connection between the prohibition of tattooing and self harm.

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