`154 Does Judaism Have a Mark of the Beast?
Chananya Weissman
November 8, 2021

In a word, no.

I have no interest in other theologies; the Torah is vast enough to keep me busy for all eternity. However, with the global monsters intending to defile all of humanity with digital markers, many people are talking about a supposed "mark of the beast". What does Judaism have to say about this?

There are two occurrences in Tanach of marks being placed on people, from which this concept likely emerged among those who later broke away from Judaism. The first occurrence is with Kayin, after he murdered his brother Hevel. Kayin later repented (the quality of which is disputed) and Hashem allayed his fears that he would be killed in revenge by whoever encountered him (Bereishis 4:15).

Chazal explain that this sign was a letter from Hashem's name that was engraved on Kayin's forehead. Rashi notes that there were no people around for Kayin to fear; he was not worried that his own parents would kill him to avenge Hevel's blood. Rather, Kayin was afraid that the beasts of the world would kill him. The sign from Hashem served to protect him from them.

The second “mark” is found in chapter 9 of Yechezkel. Hashem showed Yechezkel a prophetic vision of six prosecuting angels coming to destroy Jerusalem. Hashem commanded the leader to pass through the city and place a mark on the foreheads of the people who were distressed over the abominations being committed in Jerusalem. Hashem commanded the other angels to follow the first one and strike the residents dead without compassion. However, they should not touch those with the mark (verses 1-6).

According to Chazal, there was a change of plans. The Gemara elaborates that Hashem told Gavriel to place a mark on everyone's forehead. The righteous people were marked with ink and the wicked people were marked with blood. The midas hadin (attribute of justice) then complained, asking why one group was different than the other.

Hashem explained: “These are completely righteous, and these are completely wicked.”

The prosecution replied: “Master of the world! They should have protested [the wicked behavior] and they did not.”

“It is revealed and known before Me that if they had protested, the people would not have accepted it from them.”

“Master of the world! If it was revealed before You, was it revealed before them?”

This prosecution was accepted, and Hashem ordered the angels of destruction to begin with the holy people. Rav Yosef further explains that these people kept the Torah from A to Z. (See Rashi to verse 6, from Shabbos 55A.)

According to this, those who were originally marked for life were the first to be punished. Even though they were unblemished in their personal lives, they did not publicly object to the sinful behavior around them. It didn't matter that the sinners would have ignored them; they should have tried, instead of just groaning to themselves.

Every generation has its own parallels. In our generation we see a total breakdown of morality, while fascism and medical tyranny are being forced on the masses. It is unlikely that our objections will stop this runaway train before it crashes into God's wrath. However, all our actions are being recorded and all of us are being marked.

If we want to be marked for life, and for this mark to be honored when the time comes, we need to make at least some objection to the abominations around us. It is not enough to cluck our tongues; we have to do something, anything, out in the real world. Ideally we will manage to influence some people, but even if not, we must satisfy our obligation to protest for the sake of Heaven.

There is an even more striking connection between this chapter of Yechezkel and our times. The modern Hebrew word for passport is darkon. However, the word our oppressors chose for their monstrous “health passport” is tav – the same word used for “mark” in Yechezkel. This is the only place this word appears in Tanach. (Correction: See Shmuel I 21:14 and Iyov 31:35 according to some commentators.)

In the times of Yechezkel, those who originally received a tav to be spared were the first to be destroyed. Today's angels of destruction claim their tav is one's ticket to health and freedom, when just the opposite is the case. And just as in ancient times, they have their sights set on the holiest Jews first and foremost.

May God redeem us soon and mark all these beasts for destruction.