Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hebrew tattoos

On the Seventh Day, I rested, and in July the Lord likes to take off two weeks from blogging. But now I am back, and I've got plenty on My mind, starting with tattoos. Quite simply: Enough already.

I know it's temporarily fashionable to get inked in foreign languages, even if those Chinese characters Britney got translate as "strange," not "mysterious." And the sportiness of arm sleeves has made its way from Allen Iverson and David Beckham to Major League Baseball's Josh Hamilton, who, on a side note, I am most proud of and regularly gives his glory back to Me. But I've never been a fan of body art. I made this clear in Leviticus 19: "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD."

Oy, My children do not listen; what else is new.

The New York Times had the audacity to run this "style" story today saying your bubbe was fibbing when she told you not to desecrate your body:
According to a 2007 poll of 1,500 people conducted by the Pew Research Center, 36 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds and 40 percent of 26- to 40-year-olds have at least one tattoo. Still, even Larry David was so haunted by the cemetery edict that he wrote an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in which he pays off a gravedigger to have his mother reburied in a Jewish cemetery despite a small tattoo on her behind.

But the edict isn’t true. The eight rabbinical scholars interviewed for this article, from institutions like the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, said it’s an urban legend. It was most likely started because a specific cemetery had a policy against tattoos. Jewish parents and grandparents picked up on it and over time, their distaste for tattoos was presented as scriptural doctrine.
Hogwash. There are some tattoos that the Lord can stomach, even if they are not my choice: initials on a forearm; a butterfly on the lower back; even the giant cross and letters J-E-S-U-S that hang down the chest of one of My sons. But this does not me I approve. And there is a certain type of tattoo that drives Me positively bonkers. And, to quote one of my favorite comic characters, you wouldn't like Me angry.

It's the Hebrew tattoo, the pinnacle of spiritual irony.

Popular mostly with My gentile children -- Britney again? -- the characters, often inked across a forearm or bicep or the upper back, say things that I support: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one" and "Blessed be the Lord Almighty." And, sure, they're not preventing their future burial in a Jewish cemetery, because they couldn't be buried there anyway. But seriously, let's think about this.

A tattoo ... in God's language ... that can't even be read by those offering their bodies as canvas. That makes less sense than someone asking to be taught Torah while standing on one foot, and when the ink stains spell my name, well, that definitely qualifies as using My name in vain.

This article was also posted at The God Blog.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Leaving your father and mother

I'm not one to brag, but it's important to note before going on that I'm a bestselling author. You've know doubt heard of my book, The Bible, but it's not always so clear you -- that's the universal you -- know what is in it. For example: I told Adam quite early on that man would one day leave his father and mother (yes, this was confusing for Adam, who had no parents) to take a beautiful bride. Marriage and family and offspring, amen!

But too many of my children these days have missed a crucial part of that statement: "shall leave his father and mother." You've heard of them. They're called Twixters, and they are like Tom Hanks in "Big" -- growing older and larger but not yet ready to forgo free rent, even, in many cases, after they have cleaved to a spouse.

I am not pleased.

(Fear not if you think this commentary a ridiculous topic; you will not be smited. Just leave your comments below.)

Friday, June 20, 2008


My servant, Greenberg, will be leaving this weekend for Sin City. I am disappointed, but have faith -- yes, even the omniscient have faith -- that he will behave himself. He tells me he only goes for the gambling, and mainly poker at that.

You're surprised that I approve of such seemingly sinful behavior? That's because games of chance are one of those unnecessary taboos for the godly.

Show Me one place in My holy book where I forbid gambling. (Also not in the Bible, promises that if you give your SS check to a televangelist, I will reward you with a new Cadillac.) My ministers will say you should be a good steward of what you're given and should not attempt to get rich quick or fall in love money. And these words of wisdom are very true. Compulsive gambling, pseudo-professional gambling, these are behaviors I can't approve. But gambling as affordable entertainment -- to rip the industry's motto -- that's something I would, er, bet on.

I'm not a gambler myself. If I was, you could imagine a scenario like the premise of "Back to the Future Part II": old Biff brings back a sports almanac from 2015, which his younger self uses to bet on sports and become wildly rich. But I don't need an almanac from the future, and I already own the whole universe.

Have fun, Greenberg. You owe Me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ten Commandments

"Thou shalt have none other gods before me."

"Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it."

"Thou shalt not kill. Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Neither shalt thou steal."

I don't mean to kvetch, but are these five commandments, and the others I gave you, really so hard to follow?

There are 613 mitzvot, but only Ten Commandments. And, despite what you may have heard or seen on the big screen -- "The Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen..." Moses on film proclaimed before dropping and shattering of one of three tablets. "Oy!... Ten! Ten Commandments! For all to obey!" -- there were only Ten Commandments.

Moses had a stutter, but he was no klutz. And Mel Brooks was one of my better comedic creations, but he's no historian.

There were other commandments I could have included -- caring for the poor, protecting My physical creation -- but I knew 10 would be challenging enough. Coveting is pleasurable and lying can get you out of a bind. But they only amplify your problems. I, of course, knew this.

It is not (always) my nature to anger; I have been incredibly patient. And yet too many see burden where I offered a gift. I spent a lot of time working on these Ten Commandments, knowing that without them the Israelites would follow there flighty hearts. Remember, what Moses found when he returned from Mount Sinai with My Law: My chosen people worshiping a golden calf fashioned by his own brother who would become My first priest.

So while a minority of you spent last night reciting Torah and thanking Me for delivering The Law unto them, too many ingrates ignored My benevolence.

(God's Blog is a new addition to The God Blog. For details, click here and here.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

God's Blog: The introduction

I've lived a long life. Longer than anyone can remember. So long, no one knows where I came from. And during that time, I've been called a lot of names: Abba, Adonai, Ancient of Days, the Almighty, and many more than don't begin with an "A."

Who am I? I Am who I Am. The Creator, quite simply, but you can call me God (or G-D, if it makes you more comfortable).

And I've decided to share with you the Lord's wisdom on the vagaries and mysteries of life. Yes, the Bible already provides a manual for holy living, page after page of instruction and encouragement, failure and redemption. But how much has it really taught you about your God? A lot? Really?

Quick: What's my favorite sports team? And what do I think about evolution? About the American presidential election?

You're not sure, and I am going to solve that.

I am of the opinion, which means it is true, that there are already far too many self-indulgent memoirs on the market. My blog will not add to that "literature," though it will occasionally offer reflections on times past. (If you are looking for a good biography of the Holy of Holies, pick up Jack Miles' book.) Here you'll discover Jehovah's thoughts on a host of topics, from sports and science to politics and pain, from false religions to religious intolerance.

All of this will be channeled by my servant, the mildly conceited one who thought it would be humorous to call himself a lesser "creator." This is his reward, and he's been known to be lame, so let the Lord know how His ghostwriter is doing. The comments are open.