The term Hebrew defines a group of people. While related to Jewish and Israeli, Hebrew is more of an all-encompassing word and includes all those who are Jewish and Israeli. All Israelites were Hebrews, and this is because they are descendants of Abraham.
On the other hand, not all Hebrews were Israelites. Hebrews that were related to Abraham by way of Jacob and Isaac are Israeli. Any descendant of Abraham is Hebrew.
In terms of tattooing, many symbols are used and much of it has to do with Judaism. In this post, we are going to talk about the language of Hebrew and talk about the different symbols that can be represented in tattoo form that have a Hebrew history. By the end of the post, we hope you feel slightly more informed than before you got here.
The ancient language of the Jewish faith and people of Israel, Hebrew is a sacred language that has carried through centuries and is still spoken today in a modern form. The earliest inscriptions of the language date back over 2000 years and are connected to the reigns of the ancient Kings of Israel, King David and King Solomon. Because Hebrew is the original language of the ancient religious text of Judaism the Torah, countless phrases and words can be used as a tattoo design to symbolize an individual’s personal and sacred faith.
Hebrew language tattoos are often accompanied by Jewish iconography, most generally the six-pointed Star of David. The Hebrew language is also used by Christians as The Old Testament, the first 49 books of the Bible, is derived from the Hebrew Bible.
Hebrew Tattoo Meaning
Most often, simple words or short phrases are used for Hebrew designs. Words that translate to love, peace, joy, and God, are frequently used. Because the written form of the language is beautiful and intricate on its own, other images or details are left out. However, simple linework can be added to create a fuller image, enhancing the inscription.
For larger tattoos, passages from the Torah, Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament are used. One popular phrase, often used as a couple’s tattoo, is “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”, taken from the book Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon), the final book of the Hebrew Bible. Any phrase can be taken and translated into Hebrew for an eye-catching design, however, to preserve the integrity of the ancient language, the phrase should be a reference to the sacred books or people that it represents.
Names can also be translated into Hebrew and serve as a representation of the individual’s devotion to a loved one. Children, parents, partners, or other family members are most often honored in this way.
Hebrew Tattoo Variations
In terms of variations of Hebrew tattoos, we can take a lot from Judaism and Israeli imagery. Hebrews, Jews and Israelites are all referring to the same people. It is the nation that arose from Abraham by way of Jacob and Isaac. According to the Old Testament, it was a nation chosen by God. Therefore, there can be a variety of Hebrew tattoo variations outside of the writing.
The menorah has been a symbol for the Jewish people since the ancient days. It is a seven-branched candle that is made of gold. It is said that it was placed in the portable sanctuary by Moses. Because of its sacred nature, only the purest of olive oil was used when burning. When referring to the Talmud, only the center light is left to burn all day. They would put enough oil in there so it would last the longest even though it was lit first. The menorah tattoo makes for a great
Star of David Tattoo
The Star of David is one of the more well-known symbols in the Jewish community. For those of Hebrew descent and who speak the language, you probably couldn’t pick a more powerful symbol. The Star of David is shaped like a hexagram and made of two equilateral triangles. This symbol has been used since the 17th century and you can find traces of it going back to the 14th century. This symbol appears in many Hebrew texts. The Star of David tattoo is a great way to show you Hebrew pride.
Chai Symbol Tattoo
The Chai symbol tattoo is a symbol that can be translated to the Hebrew word, Chai which means “living”. The word is comprised of two Hebrew letters. The first is Cheit and the second is Yod. This symbol is perfect for a tattoo if you want something discreet and unique.
Hamesh Hand Tattoo
Also known as the hamsa hand, the hamesh hand tattoo is another popular symbol for anyone looking for a Hebrew tattoo. In addition to being a popular subject for tattooing, you will often find this symbol on jewelry. The hamesh hand is said to protect against the evil eye which is a well-known superstition among Jewish people.
The dreidel, or ‘Sevivion’ in Hebrew, is a very popular Jewish symbol that is association with the Hanukkah holiday. The dreidel is a spinning top with 4 sides. It is used for gambling, but children play as well while they trade coins, candy, chocolate and other things of that nature. The four letters on the dreidel are an acronym for a phrase that means a great miracle happened there. The dreidel is a great choice to represent your next Hebrew tattoo.
The mezuzah contains a handwritten scroll with Shema emblazoned on it. There are two parts to the mezuzah. You’ve got the container itself and then the Klaf (parchment) where the Shema is inscribed. To get the mezuzah tattooed on your body doesn’t represent a good luck charm but more of a reminder to follow God’s command.
While there are many other symbols that could be considered a Hebrew Tattoo, these are some of the ones we think look great when put on the skin. We hope you gathered enough information here to go get your own Hebrew tattoo and if you need help finding an artist, reach out because we can make a recommendation.