Do not tear or cut the skin in mourning

The Literal Commandment

'You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not make any cuts on our bodies for the dead.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

He also offered words of comfort to those who grieve:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4)

 

Pictures of Messiah

This commandment indicates that we should not depart from the way G-d has ordered His creation... even when we suffer great grief and great loss as when we mourn those who have died. Each of our bodies is formed the way G-d intended for it to be. This commandment pictures Messiah's complete obedience to G-d's order for creation.

Even in His grief at the death of Lazarus, He sought the Father's will:

Jesus wept.

Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me." (John 11:35, 41-42)

 

Messiah knew His role in Creation and stood firm in that role even as He wept and mourned the loss of His friend and shared in the grief of others.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not tearing or cutting His skin in mourning.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is observed in a very literal fashion: tearing or cutting the skin in mourning is forbidden. Such behavior is generally associated with pagan practices and idolatry and was forbidden to G-d's people.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and we should not tear or cut our skin in mourning.

 

Grief can be expressed in myriads of ways. The gracious G-d of the universe set boundaries for us that, even when we are afflicted with grief of any kind, protect us from ourselves.

In his letter to the Thessalonicans, Paul says that he does not want us to grieve like people who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14) When we obey this commandment, we are grieving like those who do have hope in our Creator and Redeemer.

 

<><

 

Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 73
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Deuteronomy 14:1
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 14
  • Verse 1
  • English You are the sons of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead.
  • Hebrew א בָּנִים אַתֶּם, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: לֹא תִתְגֹּדְדוּ, וְלֹא-תָשִׂימוּ קָרְחָה בֵּין עֵינֵיכֶם--לָמֵת.
  • Greek 1 Υἱοί ἐστε κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν· οὐ φοιβήσετε, οὐκ ἐπιθήσετε φαλάκρωμα ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ὑμῶν ἐπὶ νεκρῷ·
  • Parashah 47- Re'eh
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 467
  • Sef. Hach. Command The prohibition against gashing oneself as idol-worshippers do
  • Category Personal Appearance
  • We can fullfill today Yes

Custom Search

    • Acquisition (18)
    • Holiness (70)
    • Injuries (36)
    • Judges (74)
    • Judgments (23)
    • Knowledge (75)
    • Love (11)
    • Promises (25)
    • Ritual Purity (20)
    • Sacrifices (39)
    • Seeds (67)
    • Service (103)
    • Times (35)
    • Women (17)
    Close 
    • 1- The Foundations of Torah (10)
    • 10- Blessings (1)
    • 11- Circumcision (1)
    • 12- Shabbat (5)
    • 13- Rest on the Tenth of Tishri (4)
    • 14- Rest on Holidays (12)
    • 15- Leaven and Unleavened Bread (8)
    • 16- Shofar, Sukkah, and Lulav (3)
    • 17- Sheqels (1)
    • 18- Sanctification of Months (1)
    • 19- Fasts (1)
    • 2- Personal Development (11)
    • 20- Marriage (4)
    • 21- Divorce (2)
    • 22- Levirate Marriage and Release (3)
    • 23- Virgin Maiden (5)
    • 24- Woman Suspected of Adultery (3)
    • 25- Forbidden Sexual Relations (37)
    • 26- Forbidden Foods (28)
    • 27- Slaughter (5)
    • 28- Oaths (5)
    • 29- Vows (3)
    • 3- Torah Study (2)
    • 30- Nazirite (10)
    • 31- Appraisals and Devoted Property (7)
    • 32- Diverse Varieties (5)
    • 33- Gifts to the Poor (13)
    • 34- Heave Offerings (8)
    • 35- Tithes (1)
    • 36- Second Tithe and Fruit of the Fourth Year (9)
    • 37- First Fruits and Other Priestly Gifts Outside the Temple (9)
    • 38- The Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee (22)
    • 39- The Chosen House (6)
    • 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs (51)
    • 40- The Vessels of the Temple and Those Who Serve in It (14)
    • 41- Entry into the Temple (15)
    • 42- Things Forbidden on the Altar (14)
    • 43- Sacrificial Procedures (23)
    • 44- Perpetual Offerings and Additional Offerings (19)
    • 45- Sacrifices Become Unfit (8)
    • 46- Service on Yom Kippur (1)
    • 47- Benefit from Consecrated Things (3)
    • 48- The Pesach Sacrifice (16)
    • 49- Pilgrimage Festival Sacrifice (6)
    • 5- Repentance (1)
    • 50- The Firstborn (5)
    • 51- Unintentional Sins (5)
    • 52- Those with Incomplete Atonement (4)
    • 53- Substitution for Consecrated Animals (3)
    • 54- Uncleanness from a Corpse (1)
    • 55- The Red Heifer (2)
    • 56- Uncleanness from Leprosy (8)
    • 57- Uncleanness of a Bed or Seat (4)
    • 58- Other Sources of Uncleanness (3)
    • 59- Uncleanness of Foods (1)
    • 6- Reciting the Shema (1)
    • 60- Ritual Baths (1)
    • 61- Injury to Property (4)
    • 62- Theft (8)
    • 63- Robbery and Lost Property (6)
    • 64- One Who Injured Person or Property (1)
    • 65- A Murderer and the Preservation of Life (17)
    • 66- Sales (5)
    • 67- Slaves (13)
    • 68- Hiring (7)
    • 69- Borrowed and Deposited Things (2)
    • 7- Prayer and Priestly Blessing (2)
    • 70- Creditor and Debtor (12)
    • 71- Claimant and Respondent (1)
    • 72- Inheritances (1)
    • 73- The Sanhedrin and the Penalties Under Their Jurisdiction (30)
    • 74- Testimony (8)
    • 75- Rebels (9)
    • 76- Mourning (4)
    • 77- Kings and Wars (23)
    • 8- Tefillin, Mezuzah, and Torah Scroll (5)
    • 9- Tzitzit (1)
    Close 
    • Deuteronomy (201)
    • Exodus (109)
    • Genesis (2)
    • Leviticus (243)
    • Numbers (58)
    Close 
    • 1- Bereshit (2)
    • 10- Miketz
    • 11- Vayigash
    • 12- Vayechi
    • 13- Shemot
    • 14- Va'eira
    • 15- Bo (21)
    • 16- B'shalach (1)
    • 17- Yitro (16)
    • 18- Mishpatim (51)
    • 19- Terumah (3)
    • 2- Noach (2)
    • 20- Tetzaveh (8)
    • 21- Ki Tisa (8)
    • 22- Vayakhel (1)
    • 23- Pekudei
    • 24- Vayikra (16)
    • 25- Tzav (17)
    • 26- Shemini (18)
    • 27- Tazria (7)
    • 28- Metzora (10)
    • 29- Acharei Mot (30)
    • 3- Lech-Lecha
    • 30- Kedoshim (51)
    • 31- Emor (56)
    • 32- B''har (24)
    • 33- B''chukotai (12)
    • 34- Bamidbar
    • 35- Naso (18)
    • 36- B'ha'alot'cha (5)
    • 37- Shelach (3)
    • 38- Korach (9)
    • 39- Chukat (3)
    • 4- Vayeira
    • 40- Balak
    • 41- Pinchas (11)
    • 42- Matot (2)
    • 43- Masei (7)
    • 44- Devarim (2)
    • 45- Va'etchanan (11)
    • 46- Ekev (7)
    • 47- Re'eh (55)
    • 48- Shoftim (42)
    • 49- Ki Tetze (74)
    • 5- Chayei Sarah
    • 50- Ki Tavo (6)
    • 51- Nitzavim
    • 52- Vayelech (3)
    • 53- Haazinu
    • 54- V'zot HaBerachah
    • 6- Toledot
    • 7- Vayetze
    • 8- Vayishlach (1)
    • 9- Vayeshev
    Close 
    • Negative (364)
    • Positive (249)
    Close 
    • Appointed Times (43)
    • Business (2)
    • Courts, Crimes, and Punishments (73)
    • Food (32)
    • Forbidden Mixtures (5)
    • Forbidden Sexual Relationships (26)
    • G-d (13)
    • Idolatry (40)
    • Levites & Priests (35)
    • Loans (12)
    • Love (9)
    • Marriage and Family (26)
    • Morality (11)
    • Nazirites (10)
    • Oaths (8)
    • Personal Appearance (7)
    • Prayer and Confession (5)
    • Prophecy (3)
    • Providing for the Poor (13)
    • Redemption of the Firstborn (4)
    • Ritual Purity and Impurity (20)
    • Sacrifices and Offerings (99)
    • Shemittah and Yovel (19)
    • Signs and Symbols (5)
    • Slaves and Servants (18)
    • Temple and Sacred Objects (21)
    • Terumah and Tithes (25)
    • The King (7)
    • Torah (5)
    • War and Battles (17)
    Close 
    • Maybe (7)
    • No (83)
    • Yes (523)
    Close