"If I Am Not For Myself" ... Simon's Tattoo

I met Simon a few months back in Bowling Green Park, after I spotted this inscription on his right forearm:


This quote reads, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, who am I?"

A great inscription, for sure. When I asked Simon to whom it is attributed, he said Hillel, a great Jewish religious leader and thinker who lived over 2000 years ago.

The quote has a third line, ”And if not now, when?" 

This, Simon told me, he "couldn’t fit on there," so his wife has it tattooed on her back.

Hillel the Elder is considered one of the great Jewish scholars and is oft-cited when studying meaning and explanation of religious readings in the Torah.

Having never seen a Hillel tattoo before, I asked Simon if he had any particular reason for getting this tattooed on him, and in such a visible place. Simply, he replied, “It’s a great quote to live by.”


Fair enough.

He had the tattoo done at Addicted to Ink in White Plains, New York.

Thanks to Simon for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

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