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Seeming Paradoxes

While walking around Jerusalem, I crossed two (in my non-informed opinion) paradoxes on the street. The first was a young woman in a police outfit. She had a star of David tattoo on her neck. This perplexed me because Jewish people can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery if they have a tattoo. Because resurrection is an important part of the Jewish redemption, I found it interesting that she chose to show her faith by something that seems so against Judaism. Maybe the star of David was supposed to represent Israel as opposed to the Jewish faith, but considering officers in the Israeli army can’t have tattoos (or so I understood), I thought it was an interesting choice. The second thing that seemed like a paradox to me I encountered in the shuk. While walking around, I saw an Orthodox man smoking. Maybe smoking isn’t seen like a sin in Israel/Judaism, but the image shocked me. For me, smoking is a vice, and religion isn’t supposed to have any vices (roughly).

So there you have it! My two paradoxes. Let me know if I was right, and they are paradoxes!


7 comments to Seeming Paradoxes

  • epollack

    Just because Jewish people aren’t suppose to get tattoos doesn’t stop them, especially secular Jews. In most religions pre-marital sex is a big no-no but that doesn’t stop many people.

    From my knowledge, in terms of smoking many Rabbis have called on people to stop, claiming its an evil habit. This is mainly because of health factors and environmental reasons like second-hand smoke. There is actually a Haredi custom that some still practice where the groom will pass out free cigarettes to his friends at the engagement.

  • areiter

    Also, the whole ‘tattooed folks can’t be buried in Jewish cemeteries’ idea is generally not true. As far as I have heard, there may be a few (and really, very little) cemeteries that have their own policies on this and won’t bury anyone with tattoos on their plot, but for the most part, it’s not usually a problem.

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