Making a form of the human body in drawing or sculpture

Making a form of the human body in drawing or sculpture:[1]

It is forbidden to form a sculpture of the human body.[2] It is forbidden to make it even for purposes of mere beauty and decoration.[3]

The prohibited form-Sculpture and protruding engraving versus drawing and internal engraving of above items:[4] The Human body is only forbidden to be formed in a protruding method, such as a sculpture or a protruding engraving. It is however permitted to form the above items internally [such as an internal engraving, or a drawing on a surface], as is done in embroidery of a garment, or as is drawn on a board using ink.[5] [One may thus draw a human on a board. Other Poskim[6] however rule that it is forbidden to form a human body in any manner, whether protruding as a sculpture or protruding engraving, or whether as an internal engraving.[7] Practically, one is to be stringent in this matter.[8] Some Poskim[9] rule that even according to this stringent opinion, it is permitted to make a drawing of the above items.[10] Other Poskim[11] rule that according to this stringent opinion it is forbidden to make even a drawing. Practically, the custom of all Jewry today is to be lenient regarding drawings.]

Making for learning purposes:[12] The above prohibition only applies when making the sculpture for non-learning purposes. It is however permitted to make any of the above forms for learning purposes; to learn, understand, and teach. It is permitted to make the forms in any method for learning purposes, even in a protruding method [such as a sculpture or protruding engraving, and certainly one may draw them, or make an internal engraving for learning purposes]. [One may thus make a sculpture of a human for the sake of education, such as to teach Torah and the like. It is however forbidden to make the sculptures for purposes of practice, such as if one is in a course which teaches the making of sculptures and one is required to make sculptures in order to pass the course.[13]]

Incomplete sculpture of a human:[14] There are Poskim[15] who rule that the entire prohibition against forming a human sculpture is only if the form is whole and complete with all its limbs. However, it is permitted to form or own an incomplete sculpture of a human body, such as only a head or only a body without a head.[16] Practically, so is the custom.[17] [Likewise, it is only forbidden if it contains two eyes and a complete nose and the entire body is sculptured or engraved.[18] Other Poskim[19] however rule that even half of the body, or just the face, is forbidden to be sculptured. Accordingly, those Menorahs that contain sculptures of half a body must have their figure destroyed. Practically, one who is stringent in all this is blessed.[20] However, one is not to protest those who are lenient.[21] ]

 

Summary:

It is forbidden to make a complete sculpture or protruding engraving of a human. One should be stringent not to make an internal engraving of a human. There is room to be stringent against drawing the complete form of a human, although the widespread custom is to be lenient.

Cases of allowance: In all cases one may draw or make a complete sculpture of a human for educational purposes. One may likewise draw/sculpture for any purpose an incomplete human structure of the above forms, although one who is stringent is blessed.

Q&A

May one take or develop pictures of a human from a camera?

This matter falls under the dispute mentioned in A regarding whether one may make a picture of a human that is not protruding. Practically, while in previous times there were people who were stringent even regarding pictures of Gedolei Yisrael[22], the widespread custom today is to be lenient regarding all pictures of people.[23] It is certainly permitted to be done for education purposes. Seeing the picture of a Tzaddik is a great Segulah for many matters.[24]

 

May a Jew mint coins that have a human figure on them, such as dime, nickel?

This matter follows the same dispute mentioned above regarding making incomplete protruding engravings of a human body.[25] Practically, one may be lenient although one who is stringent to avoid doing so is blessed.

May one make/manufacture dolls, action figures and other human toys?

Some Poskim[26] rule it is permitted to make sculptures which serve as mere toys and the like.[27] Practically, those who do so are not to be protested.[28] Regarding buying and owning the above items-see D in Q&A!

 

May one make/manufacture Sheitel heads?

Some Poskim[29] permit doing so being it is not a complete figure. Other Poskim are stringent as stated above. Practically, one is not to protest against those who are lenient[30] although some are stringent to leave out some part of the face, such as the nose and the like. Regarding buying and owning the above items-see B in Q&A!

 

May one manufacture a Menorah with engravings of one of the forbidden forms?

No, unless the figure is incomplete. However, some Poskim[31] argue and rule one may not make the forms of a human, and the same would apply to any of the other forbidden forms, even if they are incomplete. Some Poskim[32] are stringent regarding any form, even of an animal or bird.

 

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[1] Michaber Y.D. 141:4; Avodas Zara 43b

[2] The reason: This is learned from the verse “Lo Sasus Iti” which is read Osi, do not make Me. Now, since Hashem at times appears like a human before the prophets, therefore He prohibited making sculptures of the human body. [Shach 141:21; Taz 141:11; Avoda Zara 43b]

[3] Michaber 141:4; Rambam

[4] Michaber ibid and 141:5 regarding signature ring; Rosh; Tosafus; Avoda Zara ibid; Shach 141:25; Levush, brought in Shach ibid

[5] The reason: As the above items are seen in full, in a protruding method, and hence only when it is formed in a protruding method is it considered to be made “like above.” [Shach ibid]

[6] Ramban, brought in Tur 141; Ran in name of Rishonim that so is Ikkur and is implied from the Talmud, brought in Taz 141:12; Erech Lechem of Maharikash, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:34; Gr”a 141:21 and 24 in name of Rambam; Taz 141:12 concludes “It’s a wonderment that the Michaber omitted these opinions, and regarding Halacha, certainly one is not to be lenient against the Ramban, Tur and Ran”; Beir Heiytiv 141:19 in name of Taz; Darkei Teshuvah 141:34 in name of Erech Lechem [Maharikash], Vayakhel Shlomo, Chida and Zechor Leavraham, Rashi, Aruch; Radbaz; Sheilas Yaavetz 1:101, brought in Yad Efraim, refused to allow a picture to be made on a bill of currency, saying that it is forbidden; Yearos Devash 1:2, brought in Pischeiy teshuvah 141:7 severely warns against having even pictures of these forms, even though from the letter of the law it is permitted; Chochmas Adam; Misgeres Hashulchan on Kitzur SHU”A 168:1 concludes one is to be stringent; See Ran brought in Darkei Moshe 141:4 that by Madur Elyon both protruding and internal are forbidden while by Madur Tachton only protruding forms are forbidden; See Teshuvas Lechem Rav 15, brought in Gilyon Maharsha 141:4

[7] The reason: As any of the forms that the Torah prohibited due to “Lo Sasun Iti” of the supernal worlds [i.e. Madur Elyon] and lower worlds are forbidden to be made whether in a protruding or internal method, and only regarding the Rabbinically prohibited forms is there a difference between a protruding or internal method. [Ramban, brought in Taz ibid] 

[8] Taz ibid; Chochmas Adam; Misgeres Hashulchan on Kitzur SHU”A 168:1

[9] Darkei Moshe 141:5 in name of Mordechai Bava Basra 549 and Avoda Zara 840 in name of Maharam; Taz 141:13 “Seemingly a drawing:painting is more lenient than even an internal engraving, [and is thus permitted]”; Kneses Yechezkal 13, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:6; Yad Efraim 141 “According to majority of Poskim making a drawing is permitted”; Kneses Hagedola 141:67, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:47

[10] The reason: As a mere drawing cannot be defined as a sculpture:Pesel in any way as was never included in the prohibition against making the forms of Madur Elyon or Madur Tachton. A Pesel is something that is engraved or a sculpture, and hence a mere drawing is not included in the prohibition of Shokas, which is an internal engraving. [Darkei Moshe ibid in name of Mordechaiy and Maharam]

[11] Shach 141 in Nekudos Hakesef on Taz 141:13 “it is completely incorrect to suggest a difference between a  drawing and an internal engraving, as is implied from all the Poskim”; Divrei Yosef 8 in implication of Rambam, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:8; Sheilas Yaavetz 1:101, brought in Yad Efraim, refused to allow a picture to be made on a bill of currency, saying that it is forbidden; Vayakhel Shlomo, Lechem Rav 15, Divrei Malkiel 3:58 in name of Rashba and Ritva that a drawing is considered Boletes, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:34-35; Beis Shlomo Y.D. 1:36 brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:36, that a painting on a vessel is considered Boletes; Chochmas Adam; Misgeres Hashulchan on Kitzur SHU”A 168:1 concludes one is to be stringent; Yearos Devash 1:2, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:7 severely warns against having even pictures of these forms, even though from the letter of the law it is permitted; Dvar Shmuel 247, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:29, protests against making pictures of angels due  to sacrilege;

[12] Michaber 141:4; Shach 141:26 that this allowance applies whether to make or own

[13] Chasam Sofer Y.D 128, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:30; See there that he can make the sculpture incomplete and then ask a gentile to finish it off.

[14] Michaber 141:7

[15] Rosh; Tur; Rabbeinu Yerucham

Other opinions: See continuation!

[16] Michaber ibid

[17] Rama ibid

[18] Shach 141:25

[19] Semag Lavin 32 brought in Shach 141:32; Taz 141:15 in name of Perisha, in name of Rashal, who brings in name of Semag that he is stringent even with a mere head; Maharit Y.D. 2:35 in implication of question of Ran ibid who did not answer that a mere head of a human is allowed; brought in Birkeiy Yosef 141 and Gilyon Maharsha 141:7; Kneses Hagedola 141:22, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:40 and 50; Yaavetz 1:170, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:10 rules that even according to the Rosh, only a plain face without eyes and without a body is valid, however a body with a face  is invalid even if it does not have eyes, and likewise a face with eyes and a nose is invalid even without a body; Yaavetz 2:104, brought in Yad Efraim 151:4; Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid; Rav Poalim 4:10, in name of many Rishonim who argue on the opinions brought in Michaber ibid

[20] Shach 141:32; Shelah p. 73b, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:11

[21] Rav Poalim 4:10

[22] The Yaavetz writes that his father the Chacham Tzevi refused the Amsterdam communities request to make a drawing of him, even though most Poskim rule it is permitted to do so with a mere drawing, and it is not a complete figure and rather just his face, he nevertheless refused. Nevertheless, the community did not relinquish from their desire and secretly made a perfect drawing of his father when he was not noticing, and this painting was later published in the multitudes. [Sheilas Yaavetz 1:101, brought in Yad Efraim 141:4] Divrei Malkiel 3:58, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141:34, protested against making pictures of even Gedolei Yisrael due to the prohibition of making a human form, as well as that according to Kabalah, a spirit of impurity resides on pictures, and by having a picture of a Tzaddik one causes impurity to reside on it.

[23] See Sichas 1950:51, 67

[24] See Sichas 1950:51, 67; Igros Kodesh [Rayatz] 12:86 [send picture to a Chasid]; Igros Kodesh 3:81; 11:162 and 12:266 [against fears]; Heichal Menachem 3:242 [To place by chair of Mila]

[25] See Halacha C; See Yaavetz 1:170 [or 101], brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:10 and Yad Efraim 141:4, forbade the minting of coins with a face on them; See Bava Kama 97b regarding the “coin of Avraham Avinu” which had faces on the front:back.

[26] Maharit 2:35; Yechaveh Daas 3:64; However, see Yabia Omer 3:8

[27] The reason: As it is made for mere amusement. [ibid]

[28] Yechaveh Daas 3:64

[29] Michaber and Rama 141:7 as brought above

[30] Rav Poalim 4:10

[31] Maharit 2:35; Yaavetz 2:104, brought in Birkeiy Yosef 141, Yad Efraim 141:4; Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid; Rav Poalim 4:10, in name of many Rishonim who argue on the opinions brought in Michaber ibid; See Baiy Chayeh Y.D. 175 in name of Radbaz 107 and Mabit 1:30, brought in Yad Efraim 141

[32] Baiy Chayeh Y.D. 175, brought in Yad Efraim 141

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