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Body Piercing

(YD 182:5)

Question:
Is it permissible for a girl or a woman to pierce her ear or nose? Is it permissible for a boy or a man to pierce his ear or nose? Is it permissible to pierce other parts of the body?

Responsum:
1. According to the original halakhah, it is permissible for girls and women, boys and men, to pierce their ears and nose, following the numerous precedents for this in the Biblical and Rabbinic periods.

2. However, if their parents oppose body piercing, children and teenagers must take into account the mitzvah of “fearing one’s parent” (Leviticus 19:3) as interpreted in this responsum.

3. The wearing of earrings on sexual organs by teenagers and unmarried people does not fit the Jewish value of modesty and should be avoided.

4. All types of body piercing entail medical risks. If someone still wants to do so, he has to take medical precautions such as those listed in the responsum in order to maintain “a healthy and whole body”.

Rabbi David Golinkin
In favor: Rabbi David Frankel
Rabbi David Lazar
Rabbi Simchah Roth
Rabbi Yisrael Warman
Abstained: Rabbi Gilah Dror
Rabbi Michael Graetz

A Reaction to the Responsum on the Wearing of a Kippah by Men and Women

(OH 91:3-5)

I agree with Rabbi Frankel’s responsum, aside from the last section regarding women and girls. Inasmuch as wearing a kippah is a symbol of Fear of Heaven, of modesty, and of respect for tradition, which became a binding custom in times of sanctity, we have to require the wearing of the kippah not only of men and boys but also of women and girls. By so doing, we give women and girls the same opportunity to enrich their religious experience and to give the sacred moments in their lives the additional dimension that wearing a kippah adds.

Rabbi Gilah Dror
In favor: Rabbi Michael Graetz
Opposed: Rabbi David Frankel
Rabbi David Golinkin
Rabbi David Lazar
Rabbi Simchah Roth
Rabbi Yisrael Warman

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