Tuesday, 14 June 2011

JVO: Tattoos and Jewish Burial

Jewish Values Online (jewishvaluesonline.org) is a website that asks the Jewish view on a variety of issues, some specifically Jewish and some from the world around us -- and then presents answers from each of the dominations of Judaism. Nishmablog's Blogmaster Rabbi Wolpoe serves as an Orthodox member of their Panel of Scholars, offering answers from our perspective.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Nishmablog presenting the questions to which he responded and the answers that he gave.

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Question: Can a Jew be buried with a tattoo or body piercing? How has this changed over time, if it has, and what is the reason behind the prohibition?
I really lucked out
Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky just addressed this in his "legal-ease" series in OU's Jewish Action
Magazine - Summer 2010

What’s the Truth about . . . a Jew with a Tattoo Being Buried in a Jewish Cemetery?


MISCONCEPTION: A Jew with a tattoo may not be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

FACT: This belief has no basis in Jewish law. Just as a Jew who violated other Torah laws may be buried in a Jewish cemetery, so too may one who violated the prohibition against being tattooed

While Tattoos are a violation of Biblical Law, the idea that this would exclude one from Halachic Burial is highly tenuous at best.

At any rate, those who are out-of-the-pale are not denied burial per se, rather they are relegated to the fringes of the cemetery. In my native town, an executed murderer was buried on the fringe

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