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I want a tattoo to symbolize my love for my children...

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Question:

I wish to get a tattoo to represent my love for my three children. I know Jewish law forbids body art, but my children and I have gone through very hard times as a young family (their father left us), and I would like get a tattoo to show the world that my children are my life and our Judaism makes us proud and gives us the strength to survive. Is this an acceptable purpose, and if so what would be an appropriate phrase in Hebrew to convey my love for them?

Answer:

I understand your feelings of love for your children.

Judaism does not allow tattoos under any circumstances. Our love for our children can be expressed through our actions towards them and for them, or through signs and expressions on places other than the body.

The body is a sacred gift created by G-d to house our soul. It is in no way a bulletin board, even if it is a good message we wish to post
The body is a sacred gift created by G-d to house our soul. It is in no way a bulletin board, even if it is a good message we wish to post.

Think of it this way: if I gave you a brand new car as a gift, there would be two ways I would like to see you express your thanks: 1) through the car itself; by enjoying it and caring for it. 2) A thank you letter or card expressing your thanks.

I would not like to see you spray-paint the car with your words of thanks…

And so to thank G-d, or express our love for our children, we ought to care for them and enjoy them. As far as a written expression of these feelings, we should find a means other than our selves and loved ones on which to write about those feelings. We should not write on the gift itself.

(Possible alternatives can be a pendant on a necklace with a picture of your children, or common bracelets that you share, etc.)


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G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.