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

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6
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2answers
406 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?
10
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1answer
368 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
241 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 ...
6
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2answers
224 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 ...
9
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3answers
179 views

What happened to Avraham's students?

We read how Avraham was going around convincing people to believe in one G-d and of his many students. Yet we don't hear of those students (or their descendants) ever again. What happened to them ...
3
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1answer
102 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 ...
7
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3answers
574 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 ...
7
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2answers
147 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 ...
2
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4answers
216 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"
5
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1answer
133 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
927 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own?

Why did the Hebrews not create their own calendar system instead of copying the pagan Babylonians'? I find it interesting that they use a pagan calendar which often honours pagan gods. Why is this ...
10
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3answers
502 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
645 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 ...
12
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4answers
474 views

Why is the idea of sefirot not shituf?

Why are the sefirot not considered a problem of Shituf? Is there anything wrong with believing in sefirot?
14
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3answers
924 views

Why isn't the Kabbalistic doctrine of Sefirot considered Shittuf if the Christian Trinity is?

From the answers to this question it seems that most if not all Jewish sources treat Trinitarian Christianity (in particular, their doctrine of the Trinity) as either Shittuf or outright Avoda Zara, ...
20
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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 ...
5
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2answers
296 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?
17
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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 ...
16
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2answers
220 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
84 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?
14
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1answer
635 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
968 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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3answers
374 views

Hashem is here, Hashem is there…REALLY?

The song "Hashem is here, Hashem is there..." seems to pose many interesting theological problems. What concerns would you have with this song? How would you educate your child on the challenges this ...
5
votes
1answer
241 views

Buddha at Indian Restaurants

Is the Buddha statue (or Hindu statues) a problem at Kosher Indian restaurants? (This is different than the cat question since the cat is only a good-luck superstition and these are actual idols)
6
votes
2answers
370 views

Is the cat figurine thing a problem at kosher Chinese restaurants?

It seems like all kosher Chinese restaurants have this cat-statue thingy in the front: Is there any Halachic problem with that? I assume not, if they're all kosher-certified; but why not?
2
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1answer
87 views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
352 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
144 views

What if a specific avoda zara looks just like avodas Hashem?

Let us assume there is at least one conventional way to serve any given false deity. Let us also assume that there is a prohibition against serving false deities in the manner that they are ...
31
votes
11answers
6k views

Is Christianity Avodah Zara?

It is commonly accepted that Islam is not Avodah Zarah (idolatry) since Islam has a clear monotheistic theology with a belief in Allah that parallels our view of "kail" or Hashem. It is even ...
5
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6answers
842 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 ...