Piercings and Tattoos
I’m a Shliach for teens and I had a teen ask the following 3 questions:
- What does Hashem think about piercings?
- Why cant we get tattoos?
- Can trans people alter their bodies?
What would be the most effective and accurate way to answer these questions? Is piercing a problem for girls?
Piercing is acceptable for a girl only in the lobe of her ears. Other places of the body are not in the norms of Tznius, i.e. piercing is intended to draw extra attention, and thus is not Tznius. This also emulates the ways of goyim which can be at times a Biblical prohibition. It is a possibility, that in the times of Rachel Emenu, that was the normal way of a women dressing, out of beauty. In this case, the difference is not whether it is permanent or not, rather whether it is the average way of dressing, or if it draws extra attention. In a case where its not done for beauty, it’s a violation of the prohibition of Chabalah, wounding oneself. We don’t own our bodies to do with them as we please; Hashem is the owner and it’s our job to safekeep it for Him.
Tattoos is an explicit Biblical prohibition. In general most adults later regret having done tattoos and pay a tremendous amount of money and suffer a lot of pain to remove them.
Sex change surgery is forbidden according to Torah. Transgender is a sickness not a reality. A man is meant to be a man and a woman is meant to be a woman. Having expensive plastic surgery to alter the way that Hashem made oneself is like trying to say that they know more than Hashem. It is best to refer such a person to a Jewish observant medical professional or organization that helps these people.
Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 178:1.
Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 180:1.
See also references cited here: