Q. A friend of mine who used to be frum asked you a question regarding being buried in a Jewish cemetery when marked with tattoos.
He would like to know what is the Halacha and if he needs to remove the tattoos before the burial?
A. Poskim disagree if tattooing for other purposes than Idolatry is a Biblical prohibition, some maintain it is. (Tosafos Gittin 20b and Aruch Laner ad loc, Rambam Tur and Shulchan Aruch don’t mention any distinction, Minchas Chinuch 253 debates the issue).
On question 2722 regarding a Ger or a Baal Teshuva who had tattoos done in their earlier days, if they have to remove them when they changed and if it better to remove them; we wrote:
“Minchas Chinuch (35) maintains that it is improper to maintain the tattoos as one transgresses on the prohibition of “following the ways of the nations.”
Yesodei Yeshurun (39 Melochos) debates whether one who has a tattoo and does not remove it, if he is constantly transgressing on the prohibition of kesubas k’aka’a, (getting a tattoo).
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that he is not obliged to remove them, (see also questions 2707 – 2708).
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a