Traditionally, tattoos were used as a means to mourn the dead and were looked down upon by Leviticus as a sin. Surprisingly, despite the changing times, tattoos still represent a futile attempt to cling to the permanent in a world that is not, according to an article in Jewish News.
Tattoos were mourning markers, ways to remind oneself of the loss of someone special by inflicting external pain to match internal anguish, to carry a constant reminder on one’s flesh. But we usually do not need reminders of those we have loved and lost because we are constantly surrounded by reminders. Our heart remembers.
Additionally, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch believes that the tattoos steal away from our essence as genuine human beings.
To read more about this view of tattoos in Judaism click here.