Worship of foreign deities, one of the three cardinal sins.

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What is special about Molech?

What is unique about the worship of Molech that distinguishes it from other avodah zara enough that it deserves discussion and specific prohibition in the Torah? We see it specifically discuessed ...
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2answers
119 views

Is idolatrous belief forbidden for Jews, or is it just practice?

Suppose a Jew believes that there are multiple gods, but he does not worship them in any way. Is this a violation of the prohibition against idolatry for Jews? We see from this answer that similar ...
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1answer
100 views

Is idolatrous belief forbidden for gentiles, or is it just practice?

Suppose a non-Jew believes that there are multiple gods, but he does not worship them in any way. Is this a violation of the prohibition against idolatry for gentiles?
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1answer
150 views

Is Unitarianism considered to be idolatry? [duplicate]

Many Jewish authorities consider Christianity to be idolatry due to their belief in a "Holy Trinity." Is that position universal for all Christians, or is it specific only to particular individuals or ...
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2answers
327 views

What was so good about Naamah the Ammonite?

In Bava Kamma 38b we are told that one reason God spared Lot was because of the two good birds who would issue from his daughters. Rus from Moav and Naamah from Ammon. Rus is well known, the only ...
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0answers
67 views

Tattoo of an image of idolatry

According to this exhaustive article on the subject of tattooing in Halachah, there is an important opinion with many ramifications that states that one is only liable for the biblical prohibition of ...
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2answers
124 views

Why is hell termed Gehinnom?

Why is the place that that wicked are punished for their sins after death termed Gehinnom? Is there is an association with Gei ben Hinnom where idolatry was performed? If so why was this place singled ...
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4answers
222 views

Are those who reject idolatry Yahudim (Jews)?

I found the following quote referencing Gemara from a book on converts in Judaism: The Gemara (Megillah 13•) states that we find the appellation “Yehudi” in Nach only three times: once for ...
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1answer
163 views

Examples of Destruction of Idolatry in a Pagan Land

Idolatry is a great abomination which G-d wants abolished or nullified, hence I want to know whether the believing people of the past took an action against it even if they were in the minority. Are ...
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1answer
203 views

Is it Asur to wear apparel with the Versace symbol on it?

The Versace symbol is a Medusa which stems from Greek mythology. Is there a problem with wearing their apparel with this symbol? Additionally since it Asur to learn Greek mythology (see Shulhan Aruch ...
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3answers
286 views

Permissibility of images of celestial bodies

There is precedent in halachah that one may not create images of celestial bodies such as the moon and stars; see here for background. This is derived in the Gemara from the pasuk "Do not make [images ...
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1answer
108 views

Difference between idol worship and Shrine worship

What is the Jewish doctrinal difference between an Idol housed in a temple and a grave housed in Mausoleum or Shrine with all or some of the following activities carried out by the visitors in both ...
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1answer
181 views

Do jews find it blasphemy to be judged by religious laws of the pagan country they live in

Does being judged by non judaic religious law in a non judaic , pagan country considered to fall into the category of Shituff (Associating partners with God) . As jews belive that only God has the ...
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1answer
326 views

Historical account of Jewish worship via the graves of saints and Prophets

Are there any examples in the Jewish history of Jewish people falling into worshiping the dead saints and prophets in their tombs ? Also, does building Tomb and concrete structures over the graves ...
3
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0answers
92 views

Selling land to Gentile to build Church

In YD Siman 151 it discusses the things that one is allowed and not allowed to sell to a gentile (for reasons that they might be used for Avodah Zara -- idol worship). I didn't see the following ...
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1answer
218 views

Nullifying Ancient Israelite Idols

Following up on a question raised on the Avodah list (see here & here under the subject “Destroying Idols”). Archaeologists often dig up idols whose worshipers have abandoned them over the ...
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3answers
547 views

May a Jew be a Freemason?

According to what I've been told by several people who have inquired of "practicing" (is that the right word?) Freemasons, and supported by Wikipedia, "Freemasonry explicitly and openly states that it ...
4
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1answer
175 views

May one use the name of an avodah zara?

What is the source for not using the proper name of an avodah zara? How far does this halacha extend? For instance if thousands of years ago people worshipped an avodah zara named "XYZ" but no longer ...
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1answer
138 views

Unkosher sheitel's / wigs?

Is it permissible for a married woman to wear a wig if the hair was sacrificed to an idol or foreign deity? There is a temple in India, dubbed the "Richest temple in the World" where pilgrims shave ...
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2answers
639 views

Is a Jew allowed to be knighted? Problem with kneeling?

Is there any halachik problem with going through the knighting (or Damehood for women) process of kneeling etc? The current ceremony does not contain many of the Christian or pagan overtones of the ...
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5answers
626 views

Did the Rambam believe in magic?

If you read through Chapter 11 of the Rambam's laws on Idol Worship, you'll see what seems to be the Rambam forbidding anything that even resembles magic, all while calling such practices foolish and ...
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2answers
242 views

Business with Christians during their holiday periods

According to those who hold that Christianity is avodah zarah, may Jews do business with Christians within three days of Sunday (or if you want, within 3 days of Dec. 25 or Easter) in light of the ...
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1answer
201 views

What are the issues with singing in a secular choir that includes some Christian music?

If one sings in a secular choir (consisting of both Jews and gentiles) that performs in secular locations and contexts (such as concert halls, public plazas, nursing homes, etc), what are the issues ...
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1answer
142 views

What are the ways of the Amorites?

When we are told not to go in the ways of the Amorites (Shabbat 67a, Yerushalmi Shabbat 6:9), However the practices enumerated there do not seem to be specific to the Amorite people. Were there other ...
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2answers
527 views

Can one pray in front of a mirror?

Can it be considered avodah zarah if one prays while looking at themselves in the mirror? I mean, if you're looking at yourself, is it wrong for someone to think that you're praying to that person? ...
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4answers
580 views

What is the exact definition of Shituf (vis a vis 'Avodah Zarah)?

"Shituf" is the heretical idea of some sort of co-mingling of something with G-d (Has VeShalom). According to many rabbinic opinions, Christianity is Shituf (cf., Is Christianity Avodah Zara?), and ...
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1answer
168 views

Depiction of the Menorah, the *Shulchan* and *Kadosh HaKadoshim* on ancient coins?

On some rare ancient coins of Matityah Antigonus, there are depictions of what seem to be the Menorah and the Shulchan (one obverse die even seems to show the Lechem HaPanim). This coin has an ...
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3answers
470 views

Asking non-Jews to pray for someone

Is it appropriate to ask non-Jews to pray on behalf of someone in dire straits (sick, wrongfully imprisoned, trapped, etc.)? Edit: If it's appropriate, would it be inappropriate if the person being ...
4
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1answer
99 views

How would anyone ever “worship idols out of love or fear”?

It says in the Gemara (Krisus 3a) that if one worships an idol without accepting it as a god, he isn't liable to even bring a chatas. This opinion seems to held according to everyone. Yet, the Gemara ...
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1answer
147 views

Can a Minor Convert Effect Yayin Nesach?

Per the answer to Are children adopted by Jews Jewish? a child that is adopted by Jewish parents when they reach adulthood (13/12) are given the choice of remaining Jewish. If I know of a child that ...
3
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0answers
90 views

The “Sign of the Horns” and 'Avodah Zarah

Is the "Sign of the Horns" a manifestation or an act of 'Avodah Zarah? What if someone uses the gesture as a pop culture reference (eg., heavy metal), or just jokingly - or even mockingly about ...
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6answers
808 views

What's with Kiddush Levana?

In general Kiddush Lavanah has always seemed to me to be akin to "Avodas Kochavim" - so does anyone know of a satisfying answer that works with Occam's razor? More specifically: We say Just as I can ...
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3answers
810 views

Why do we bow down in the direction of the ark?

This is a question I've had for many years, to which I've never received a satisfactory answer: In Hebrew school, we were taught that idolaters bowed to a idol of their god. They would claim that ...
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3answers
215 views

Is it true that there was a time when Jews believed in the existence of several Gods instead of just One?

Is it true that there was a time when Jews believed in the existence of several Gods instead of just One? Somebody told me that there was a time when they even worshiped different Gods - even after ...
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4answers
2k views

Is practicing Yoga against Torah?

What does Halacha and Halachic Authorities have to say about the permissibility of a Jew practicing Yoga? Is it Avodah Zarah? If it is problematic, are there methods of doing it where it would be ...
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2answers
357 views

Are Jews permitted to martyr themselves?

Are Jews permitted to martyr themselves? For example, if it is a question of converting or being killed, is the Jew permitted to sacrifice himself rather than convert? Separately: which would be ...
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1answer
365 views

Is kneeling and bowing down in Kung Fu an idolatry (Avoda Zarah)?

I am exercising at Kung Fu's dojo and wonder whether kneeling and bowing down is an idolatry (Avodah Zarah)? The floor has soft mats. The reason explained to me is that it's done as a form of greeting ...
6
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1answer
286 views

How does Judaism regard the different denominations of Christianity vis-a-vis Avoda Zara?

There's been lots of talk about whether Christianity is Avodah Zara. Are there any distinctions between denominations, say which ones have more statues?
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4answers
208 views

Is it idolatry to use the english word “God” to refer to Hashem?

Shabbos 67b says "Gad" (גד) was the name of an Amorite idol, and we shouldn't use it. Shouldn't this apply to the name "God" as well? eg. "God forbid"
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1answer
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Why does the pasuk describing idols leave out “speaking?”

In Parshas Vaeschanan the Posuk says: עֲבַדְתֶּם שָׁם אֱ־לֹהִים מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם עֵץ וָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִרְאוּן וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּן וְלֹא יֹאכְלוּן וְלֹא יְרִיחֻן Translated as: And there ...
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2answers
348 views

Avodah Zarah in other religions

Picking up on some of the discussions recently, which religions are Avodah Zarah and why? How does that translate into our relationships with them?
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2answers
209 views

Calling a Jew a “guru”?

Is it appropriate to use the term "guru" to refer to an expert in matters of Judaism or Jewish law on the assumption that it will be understood as the second definition here, or is it inappropriate no ...
10
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1answer
297 views

Dipping fingers in Havdalah Wine

What is the source or origin of the custom to dip one's fingers in the wine poured over the candle to extinguish it at the conclusion of Havdalah? As a side note, and a reason I'm tagging it this ...
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2answers
142 views

Talking to objects and Avoda Zara

This question inspired by This question here at programmers.se There is a concept in some programing circles called "Rubber Ducking", where one expresses a problem to a rubber ducky and through that ...
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1answer
99 views

Asking From Angels Borchuni Lshalom

Jews usaly do not ask angels for help as per the RAMBAM. He writes (in Sanhedrin, Perek 11) in the fifth Yesod ha'Emunah the prohibition against serving Avodah Zarah -- that not only should a person ...
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1answer
119 views

How could Yaakov name his children Gad and Dan?

Shabbos 67b says Gad was the name of an idol of the Amorites, and Dan was an idol of Samaria. If we're not supposed to even say the name of idols, how could Yaakov name his sons after them? (or is it ...
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3answers
321 views

Getting benefit from a church

I recently heard that one is forbidden to get any benefit from a church (or any other place of worship other then a shul). They went on to say that the prohibation included while giving directions ...
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2answers
268 views

Greek Mythology in Jewish Day Schools

Is there any issue with the general studies department of a Jewish day school teaching Greek mythology to the students?
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2answers
77 views

Idol as a reference point for location

לִפְנֵי פִּי הַחִירֹת בֵּין מִגְדֹּל וּבֵין הַיָּם לִפְנֵי בַּעַל צְפֹן There is a Halacha that says you may not say "let's meet by such and such an Idol" yet here the Torah does it Why?
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563 views

Can a Christian “Grace” invalidate food?

Suppose there's a communal meal in a secular workplace, at which some of the food is reliably kosher. Now suppose that right before anyone takes any food, one of the participants, to general assent, ...