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I was learning about cutting/scratching. This is a pagan practice of cutting oneself in mourning, and is forbidden in the Torah.

The halachot for this are in משנה תורה, הלכות עבודה זרה וחוקות הגויים 12:13 and שולחן ערוך, יורה דעה 180:6

No measure is given for what counts as a שריטה/גדידה, even though other details are given, and measure is given for other halachot in this siman, such as קרחה.

Rambam always gives a measure, and where he doesn't (like with this), you can be sure that there is no minimum measure. However, there are exceptions to every rule so I thought I'd ask if anyone is aware of a minimum measure?

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There's a rather enigmatic Tosefta that seems to require that it be visible:

וכמה ישרוט ויהא חייב כדי שיראה משם שריטה

But the Ritva directly states there's no minimum:

ומדלא יהיב תלמודא שיעורא לשריטה ש"מ שהיא בכל שהוא

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  • Not a contradiction. No minimum except until it's visible Dec 21, 2023 at 14:33

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