Are Piercings Allowed in Judaism?


Are Piercings Allowed in Judaism? - Alef Bet by Paula

The famous question is "Does Judaism allow for piercing of the ears and the septum or nose?"

"Do Jews wear jewelry?"

Now, We love jewelry

In fact, contemporary bracelets, necklaces and pendants are the specialty of the house here at Alef Bet.

A precious ornament that says “I love you” when given as a gift.

A piece of adornment can also be a great gift to yourself, serving as a silent, tactile affirmation – to give strength, give confidence, and make the wearer feel beautiful as well as protected.

We create jewelry from many different materials, with many different “vibes”, literally ranging from diamonds to leather.

Leather and pewter star of david bracelet 

What we don’t have though is belly button piercings or nose rings.

Or ornaments which would fit into any other punctured body-part. So, when we're asked if "We Sell Different Body Part Jewelry?"

That's the answer--no.

We do get requests for earrings.

And, we’ve gotten feedback that some people conclude that we don’t make or sell earrings because we are opposed to piercing, on religious, moral, ethical or esthetic grounds.

Nope. Not really.  Not opposed at all.

We've been asked, "is piercing allowed in Judaism?"

judaic jewish earrings

While we don’t pose as Talmudic scholars, we do note that in the days  of Rebekah, wife of Isaac, and other Jewish matriarchs, piercing—of the NOSE, and the ears—was accepted, and a woman’s nose-ring was a normal part of her attire, like her bracelets…and maybe a nice cashmere sweater.  (Genesis 24:22)

Piercing of the ears in those days seems more controversial, and seems to have an association with enslavement, but only for a slave that does NOT wish to be set free. (EXODUS 21:5-6). The same association, by the way, follows tattooing, which in ancient times was the mark of a slave, like a cattle-brand.

For Jewish men, it was also acceptable to pierce for beauty in biblical times.  

You may be asking, how the heck do you know that men and women, daughters and sons in Biblical times had nose and ear piercings?

Aaron said to them, "Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." (Exodus 32:2) This was when the Hebrews, after leaving slavery out of Egypt were asked to donate their gold to build the golden calf prior to the Ten Commandments.

Piercings are considered beautiful.

gold star earrings

Jewish Star Earrings 

No question about that!

In other cultural traditions, tattooing has strong associations with the criminal underworld and other behaviors considered “deviant” by the mainstream.

Both piercing and tattooing get mixed reviews in various traditions within the Jewish community, but hey, times change.

In the past couple of decades, extravagant multiple piercings and tattooing of the body and face, and even the most intimate (!) reaches of the body, have become much more commonplace.

The fact that these once-taboo practices are so ordinary, so suburban, so “everywhere,” seems to have robbed them of their once-outlaw or deviant status.

From a Judaic standpoint, this contemporary approach to piercings—way beyond a discreet opening in the ear-lobe for a delicate post or wire—seems to have more in common with pagan practice, and even with some aspects of Christian sacred art.

I am thinking especially of Latin (Italian, Spanish, Mexican) Roman Catholic art, where drops of blood, crowns of thorns, the Passion of Christ on the Cross, the sacred heart pierced by a sword, the mortified flesh, and so on are depicted with graphic realism.

This is where we get the word “excruciating”—as in, the pain of a human body being removed from the Cross.

But, I digress.

Jewish sacred art has historically forbidden this kind of depiction, the stated reason being that it verges on idolatry.

And in my observation, the art of Islam follows a similar reasoning.

This is part of why the art forms of the Middle East and North Africa are filled with such dazzling mathematical and geometric designs.

Strictly speaking, depictions of humans and animals were often discouraged in those artistic traditions.

In any case, maybe we’ll design some more earrings for pierced ears—almost no one I know can stand to wear clips or screw-backs.

In fact, the latter do indeed seem like something from the Spanish Inquisition!  What about thorns…. (insert sarcasm here)

But, about modern times...let us go back to the above sentence: The fact that these once-taboo practices are so ordinary, so suburban, so “everywhere,” seems to have robbed them of their once-outlaw or deviant status.

But the nose-ring, in spite of its long Jewish history, will have to wait as one of our designs.

Ditto for the belly-button jewelry and all the rest.

moon and star earrings

Moon and Star mismatched earrings

I think we will just stick to the after party, the layering look, the multiple earrings in one ear for now.

In fact, we'd love to recommend some mix-and-match ideas to get that layering party on!

 evil eye diamond earrings

 Diamond Evil Eye Earrings

So, let us know-- how do you feel about earrings and mismatching?  Piercings and all the rest?

But, about modern times...let us go back to the above sentence: The fact that these once-taboo practices are so ordinary, so suburban, so “everywhere,” seems to have robbed them of their once-outlaw or deviant status.

The fact that it was once-outlawed or deviant in our eyes, says it all.

Once was.

So, to answer that question, "do you Jews have pierced ears?" 

Yes, they do.


Follow us

We let our friends know about new arrivals and exclusive offers.


Deja un comentario

Tenga en cuenta que los comentarios deben aprobarse antes de publicarse.