Saturday, December 11, 2010

There's Something Lacking...

Today's victim was going for a spiritual ring tattoo. She wanted "Mercy" tattooed in Hebrew on her finger, but I guess God had other plans...

There's just a tiny incorrectness in one of the Hebrew letters. A small lack of a line, and this tattoo spells not "Mercy" but "Lack" or "Absence".

See, Mercy in Hebrew is "Chesed", but turn the letter Dalet into a Resh, and you've ended up with "Cheser", which means something else entirely. I like how it is still a real Hebrew word, though.

Dalet and Resh are very similar, aren't they?

Luckily for this woman, her tattoo is very easy to fix. Just add a tiny protrusion to that Resh, and she's back in the righteousnesses business.

Now, this is how "Chesed", which means Mercy and also Grace in Hebrew, is written:


  1. can imagine she scares away a lot of first dates with "lacking" written on her ring finger...

  2. Ha! Anonymous, that angle never crossed my mind, and it's awfully hilarious :) Good job!

    1. how would I write: I shall fear no evil, for you are with me?

  3. *is* a kosher dalet, for what it's worth. Ugly, but kosher. The sticking-out-bit on the back of dalet is there to reduce ambiguity (and for kabbalistic reasons), so it's customary to have it in our most formal scripts, and in a fair proportion of our less-formal scripts, and accordingly in fonts - but coming right down to the question of "Is this a dalet or a reish," as answered by those arbiters of meaning the Torah scribes - it's a dalet all right.

  4. I have seen plenty of bad tattoo mistakes using the wrong Chinese Symbols, but this is the first site I have seen dedicated to bad Hebrew translation. Great site :)

  5. I'd think that "chesed" is intended to mean grace, not mercy... makes more sense Christian religion-wise.

  6. It was marked as Mercy where I found it, otherwise I'd have assumed Grace as well.

  7. i cant imagine chesed meaning 'mercy'.... chesed is more lovingkindness, generosity, grace...

    for mercy, "rachamim" seems a much better choice

  8. Some Hebrew fonts show the difference between the letters much more clearly than the font she chose. Maybe it wasn't clear in the stencil she brought to the artist -

    There is even a chance that the artist copied the letter wrong.

  9. I just got this as a tattoo today (it is correct, I have even had people check the original to make sure, and I checked the image before it was even made permanent). It is "chesed" but, in English, there are no words for it. The closest is that it is God's love, grace, and loyalty through the covenant He made with His people. But there is truly no one word to describe what it is.

  10. Well this tattoo can be actually fixed by a small line on the right, though I doubt the owner of the tattoo even knows that there is a mistake.

  11. Chesed means kindness. Not sure where all this "grace" stuff comes from.

  12. there's always the possibility that the tattoo was actually meant to say "haser" - missing (on her ring finger, so like maybe she misses her husband? (הוא חסר לה ? ? ))

  13. It looks like it says חסך to me


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