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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 1 (Tora) -- Part: 2 (Negative) -- Prohibition: 45 -- Text
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The Sharia of Moses in the TORA
Part 2 - The 365 Prohibitions of the Tora

45 - MAKING CUTTINGS IN OUR FLESH


Deuteronomy 14:1 -- “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead.”
Leviticus 19:28 --You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.”

The Talmud says that this negative commandment also forbids dividing the people and causing faction and strife,* understanding lo tithgodedu as, “Ye shall not form yourselves into factions (agudoth)”.** The real meaning of the verse, however, is, as the sages explain, “Ye shall not inflict upon yourselves any bruise for the dead”; this other interpretation is merely a derash.***

* I.e. the courts are not to give conflicting rulings, and so cause divisions in the community: “for such a course would lead to great strife.” (Mishneh Torah, Mada, Hilchoth Abodah Kochabim XII, 14)
** Yeb. 13b (Sonc. ed. p. 70)
*** I.e. a non-halachic exposition of Scripture

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