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

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Who are the idolaters?

I'm having hard time understanding the definition of idolater. It is easy for me to recognize for example that who prays a statue is an idolater. But what about other monotheistic religions? Are ...
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0answers
76 views

Was Baal worshiped via child sacrifice?

I heard Glenn Beck, on the radio today, saying that the "Old Testament" false god Baal was worshiped via child sacrifice (among other things). Is there any evidence of that from Tanach itself (i.e. ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there any problem with thanking a non-Jew by saying “God bless you?”

If your neighbor/coworker/etc. is a religious non-Jew and they do you a favor, is there a problem to say "thank you, God bless you?", assuming you think they'd appreciate hearing that?
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1answer
219 views

Plants vs Zombies Avoda Zara

In the digital game Plants vs. Zombies, there are graveyard tombs in the shapes of crosses. Does this constitute avoda zara? Is it therefore assur to play this game?
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3answers
218 views

Is one permitted to study other religions?

Is one allowed to study other religions? If not, how is one supposed to know that Judaism is correct? If yes, is such study encouraged?
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57 views

Is property belonging to a human god considered tashmishei avoda zara?

If a non-Jew who is worshipped as a god wants to bring a korban, can we accept it? Normally non-Jews can bring any sacrifices to our God which they want and are not limited to the Temple Mount while ...
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2answers
377 views

Is it allowed to make paintings of living creatures?

Among the Ten Commandments is: Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the ...
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1answer
57 views

Why did the bull demand Eliyahu hand it over?

In the Yalkut Shim'oni on Ⅰ M'lachim 18 (remez 214), we see a bit more of the story found in that chapter of Navi: Eliyahu's bull continued following him. But the bull that was designated for ...
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42 views

God issuing prophecy in the name of idols

I once read somewhere in the Gemara that a Rabbi asked how come idolaters claim that, as they walked by an idol, the god made a prediction (or gave advice) that came true. The answer was that God ...
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2answers
323 views

Did all of Bnei Israel worship the golden calf?

When Prophet Moses went up to the mountain, did all the people end up worshiping the cow, or were there some who remained aloof? What happened to such people who did not become idolaters? Were they ...
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1answer
72 views

Kibud Av Veim if parent(s) is an idolater

Suppose someone has a parent(or both) who, chas vshalom, became an idolater. Do their kids still have the obligation of Kibud Av Veim towards them?
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226 views

Is it spiritually dangerous to practice Christianity?

In Sarah Littman's book, Confessions of a Closet Catholic, Littman (a Reform Jewish woman) writes a tale of a Jewish girl who decides to give up Judaism for Lent and practice Catholicism. She takes ...
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198 views

Is it wrong to wear a necklace of a magen david?

Is it wrong to wear a necklace of a magen david (star of David)? Would that be idolatry? And what if I kiss it? Will it then be idolatry?
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156 views

Issachar's Banner in Halacha

Inspired by this answer. Bamidbar Rabbah 2:7 describes the symbol on Issachar's banner as the sun and the moon. I have researched the topic of what it is permitted to draw, and it seems that ...
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3answers
588 views

What can a Jew draw? [duplicate]

The Torah prohibits making certain images, (Deuteronomy 4:15-19). It includes males and females, animals, planets, and stars. It seems from these verses that a person's options when drawing the world ...
4
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2answers
288 views

Halachic status of Sikhism as Avoda Zara

Are there any sources that explicitly discuss the halachic status of Sikhism regarding to what extent it follows the Noahide laws, and if it is considered avoda zara or shittuf?
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2answers
66 views

Meis Mitzva and Idolatry

A Cohen finds a dead body in India Should he bury it himself and become taamei OR Should he inform the nearby village who will then dispose of the body with idolatrous rituals. The roots of the ...
4
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1answer
372 views

Would it be permissible to believe that Jesus is the messiah if that belief otherwise entails no rejection of halakha or Jewish tradition?

"Messianic Judaism" is generally speaking Christianity repackaged in a Jewish veneer, so they have the same beliefs on the Torah and the divinity of Jesus/Trinity as mainstream Christianity. But ...
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73 views

Praying with pictures or money on the table

It has been established that one may not pray facing a picture. May one pray by a table where pictures or money bills lie? How about engraved images like coins? If prohibited, how can the practice ...
4
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1answer
130 views

Halachic basis for opposing erection of a giant statute of Jesus in Israel

According to JewishIsrael.com an Arab Christian group plans to build a giant statute of Jesus on Har Kedumin (Mt. Precipice) near Nazareth on Jewish National Fund land. The Minister of Tourism, Uzi ...
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2answers
240 views

No yetzer hora of idolatry, so no nevuah?

I remember learning in a shiur (sorry, can't think of the reference) that Chazal was able to essentially destroy the yetzer hora of avodah zora but with the side effect that there wouldn't be nevuah ...
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2answers
172 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. ...
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0answers
141 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 ...
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130 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?
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270 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 ...
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122 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 ...
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50 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 ...
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1answer
78 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 ...
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1answer
122 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 ...
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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?
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1answer
316 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?
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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 ...
2
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1answer
263 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 ...
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3answers
870 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
76 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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221 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
151 views

Has an idol been clearly defined as to what is an Idol that makes it Avodah Zarah? [closed]

Has an idol been clearly defined as to what is an Idol and what is not?
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2answers
190 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 , ...
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3answers
185 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 ...
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1answer
797 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 ...
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560 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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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
258 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 ...
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1answer
254 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
101 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 ...
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1answer
122 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
184 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 ...
6
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2answers
420 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 ...