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

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7
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2answers
166 views

Poti-phera's Title/Job Description

Genesis 41:45 JPS And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. ...
4
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0answers
128 views

Are gold (or silver) jewelry charms considered avodah zarah?

Many years ago, I started to buy small gold charms specifically with Jewish symbols for my mother who added them to a necklace, much like gold charm bracelets circa 50 years ago. Among them were tiny ...
1
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0answers
122 views

Can photographs be considered idols?

Can photographs of people be considered idols? Is it the kavanot that the viewer ascribes that is important or is it inherent in a 2D image of a face?
8
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1answer
265 views

Are there any ill-effects for mis-directed prayers?

Inspired by the end of this answer: Just remember that all non-Jews don't follow the Sheva Mitzvot and could [even] be in Avodah Zarah and then would...a blessing [of theirs] matter? It might even ...
2
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0answers
110 views

How did names of foreign gods find their way into the Torah and Hebrew language?

After having found one explanation that the origin of the Hebrew word "Shachar" שחר which is used in the context of "Alos HaShachar" is the name of a foreign god. As well that "Shemesh" שמש which we ...
3
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0answers
46 views

saying the word “Jesus” [duplicate]

The standard practice seems to be avoiding saying the word "Jesus" due to the halacha of שם רשעים ירקב, but some people seem to be willing to say it. Is there a heter for this? (Also, would this heter ...
7
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3answers
561 views

Is there sufficient evidence to support the theory that ancient Israel practiced monolatry?

I just came across this Wikipedia article on monolatrism that says some people believe ancient Israel practiced monolatry. The highest claim to be made for Moses is that he was, rather than a ...
-1
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1answer
77 views

If God doesn't have a body, how come Moses speak face to face with God? [duplicate]

Whatever Moses see is just God's creation right given that God cannot be seen and does not have forms or body (or does He?). Did Moshe Rabbeinu See God? Well did Moses really see God or did he just ...
3
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1answer
117 views

Is Sabellianism avodah zarah (idolatry)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabellianism They do not believe that God is three in one. They believes that God, being omnipotent, can appear to humans in many forms, including becoming human like ...
12
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3answers
1k views

What is the red string all about?

Where did the concept of wearing a red string come from? I have heard different opinions ranging from "you should definitely wear it" to "its forbidden like idol worship" - who is right?
1
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1answer
283 views

Singing or listening to non-Jewish religious music

Is it permissible to listen or sing non-Jewish religious music so long as praise and worship is only expressed to Hashem and this is clear and/or your intention is only to praise G-d and no one else?
2
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0answers
65 views

For the Noahide laws, what should Noahides, who are unaware of the biblical God, do? [duplicate]

Being a Noahide Gentile seems to be harder than it looks. Noahides must follow the seven commandments. I wonder what happens to those innocent peoples who practice polytheistic, traditional folk ...
3
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2answers
342 views

Is believing that God, Israel, and Torah are one Avodah Zarah?

The Zohar said that God, Israel, and Torah are one. I thought Judaism is strictly monotheistic. When Jesus said, "I and the father is one", he was being a heretic. So how come the Zohar includes even ...
2
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1answer
237 views

May I play a computer game which includes Greek mythological creatures?

I sometimes play a computer role-playing game (RPG) in which my character fights creatures and retrieves treasure. But some of the creatures are derived from Greek mythology. Is it still permissible ...
24
votes
3answers
780 views

While playing a computer game, may I “worship” one of the game's “gods” to help me win?

I sometimes play a certain computer role-playing game (RPG). In this game, my character (whom I might name after myself but who does not otherwise resemble me) fights mythological creatures and ...
2
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1answer
69 views

Mevushal wine used for avoda zara?

Suppose that while you are away, your non-Jewish housekeeper borrows your mevushal bottle of wine and pours some off for avoda zara (apparently, despite the fact that it's mevushal, it's "good enough" ...
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votes
3answers
216 views

Demolishing Idolatry sneakily?

As an extension to this question which makes it obligatory to demolish idols, is it equally virtuous to demolish places of idolatry sneakily as we see examples from the story of Abraham? As people ...
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1answer
144 views
-2
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2answers
171 views

Does demolishing idolatry require specific authority?

Is a command from legal authorities required to demolish idols? Moreover, what counts as a legal authority in such a case? e.g: You may find many Idols of Jesus in churches in the biblical Israel , ...
9
votes
3answers
180 views

Why did Moshe and Aaron need to use a staff in initiating the plagues?

Why did Moshe and Aaron need to use a staff in initiating the plagues? Such as in שמות פרק ז פסוק יט: יט. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל אַהֲרֹן קַח מַטְּךָ וּנְטֵה יָדְךָ עַל מֵימֵי ...
0
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1answer
724 views

Why do people say that Abraham and his family were idolaters at first?

A common idea these days, is that Abraham, his father and their families were supposed to have worshipped idols, until the true Creator, the LORD, called him from Ur of the Chaldees to give unto him ...
16
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8answers
2k views

If Christianity is avodah zarah and Islam is not, why has the Christian world triumphed over the non-Christian, and why do Jews prefer to live among Christians and not Muslims?

The Rambam quite clearly considered Christianity to be avodah zarah. He did not feel the same way about Islam, however, going so far as to condone praying within a mosque, and many Orthodox Jewish ...
5
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2answers
514 views

Conversion to Islam

Although Islam is considered monotheistic I would imagine that in a case of 'oness' (coercion) one would still not be allowed to convert. Is conversion to Islam considered to be a case of יהרג ואל ...
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3answers
1k views

Did the Rambam say it's OK for a Jew to convert to Islam? [closed]

I read that the Rambam considered a Jew who converts to Islam NOT to be an Apikorus(אפיקורוס)\heretic or an ovdei avodah zarah, as opposed to a convert to Christianity who he considered to be heretic ...
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1answer
236 views

How does Halacha view someone who converts to Islam? [duplicate]

What is the halachic status of the person who converts to Islam, does he remain a Jew in spite of conversion? I am specifically asking the Muslim case since they don't deny the Torah and believe it to ...
7
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1answer
230 views

Davening in front of a picture of 'Avodah Zarah

This afternoon I found myself Davening in a classroom. It must have been a comparative cultures type of class, judging by the items that were hanging on the walls - posters and artwork and such. As I ...
0
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1answer
133 views

Is the expression “we do not rely on 'bar elahin'” a reference to Christianity?

The prayer Brich Shmeh from the Zohar Vayakhel 206a, which is recited during the Torah service, contains the statement ולא על בר אלהין סמיכנא. All the translations I've seen render "bar elahin" as ...
3
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0answers
91 views

Apostate Jew performing mitzvahs

It has been discussed many times on this site that a non-Jew may not observe Shabbat (in addition to various other mitzvot that are prohibited to non-Jews). We have also seen that a Jew who renounces ...
0
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1answer
96 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
109 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?
2
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1answer
170 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 ...
5
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2answers
364 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 ...
3
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0answers
80 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
130 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 ...
2
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4answers
245 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 ...
0
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1answer
172 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 ...
5
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1answer
210 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 ...
9
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3answers
306 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 ...
0
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1answer
137 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 ...
-1
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1answer
191 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
369 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
115 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
256 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 ...
13
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3answers
631 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
votes
1answer
205 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
151 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
763 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
715 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
294 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
227 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 ...