Body Piercing in Jewish Law

Jewish law does not prohibit it, but Jewish theology and ethics raise serious questions about what statements we make with body piercing.

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Ultimately this seems to be a matter of fashion which will pass with time. But until then, we should strengthen the sense of tz'ni'ut, which should guide our fashion choices and underscore our belief that we are created b'tzelem Elokim in an attempt to balance contemporary pressures. But, I see no basis for any sanctions on those who engage in such fashions, certainly not of the magnitude of refusing burial in a Jewish cemetery or refraining from including them in any synagogue practices.

Conclusion

Body piercing is not prohibited, although legitimate concerns regarding tz'ni'ut and other traditional Jewish values should be taken into consideration and guide one's choices. At all times a Jew should remember that we are created b'tzelem Elokim. We are called upon to incorporate this understanding into all our decisions.

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Rabbi Alan Lucas

Alan B. Lucas is Rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Roslyn Heights, New York.