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

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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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130 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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70 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 ...
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1answer
111 views

Is it mutar to receive ordination from the Universal Life Church?

According to Wikipedia, the Universal Life Church is a religious organization that offers anyone semi-immediate ordination as a ULC minister free of charge. The organization states that ...
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1answer
179 views

Buying products from store that sells avodah zarah?

What is the Halacha on buying products (not used for Avodah Zarah and not intended) from stores that sell things that can be used for Avodah Zarah? Assuming that buying such products is forbidden, ...
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2answers
131 views

Is showing excessive honor to Gedolim idolatry?

At what point is the kavod shown toward the Gedolim considered idolatry? Terms like 'Gadolatry' are sometimes used as if to indicate that too much respect is being shown for certain rabbis to the ...
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4answers
185 views

Why is Idolatry a sin

What is the wisdom behind declaring Idolatry as a cardinal sin in Judaism? What is wrong if the true God as well as some other person\Object is worshipped along with him as long as he is not leaving ...
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3answers
203 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
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3answers
267 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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1answer
162 views

Are there any Lubavitchers that believe that their Rebbe more than mortal

I have heard that many people think that some Lubavitchers (obviously mistakenly) think that their rebbe is somehow more immortal than everyone else. Does anyone know if this is true and to the extent ...
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1answer
188 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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1answer
97 views

where if anywhere, does rashi refer to christianity as idolatry?

I remember hearing that rashi does not consider christianity idolatry. In researching it on google I have read here Isaac On Jewish and Christian Altars:Polemic and Exegesis in Rashi and the ... ...
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185 views

Are chess pieces with faces on them considered idols?

If a chess set has pieces which seem to be mini sculptures of faces etc. (like many of the hand-made ones you will find in South Africa), are they considered idols? Did anyone hear of something like ...
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2answers
166 views

May I give non-mevushal wine to a non-Jew?

If I know that non-mevushal wine is available to be used for avodah zarah (as in http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/5211.htm) and that the prohibition against lifnei iver includes non-Jews[1], then am I ...
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1answer
159 views

Is the Christmas tree an Ashera?

Do any poskim equate Christmas trees with the Ashera tree mentioned in the Gemara?
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1answer
115 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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3answers
87 views

Who are considered “avot” who worshipped idols?

In the beginning of the Amidah, we identify "avoteinu" our forefathers and we list them as Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. But in the Haggadah, we begin by saying "Mitchilah, ovdei avodah zara hayu ...
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1answer
99 views

Was the Golden Calf associated with a particular deity?

Are the Golden Calves constructed by Aaron and Jeroboam affiliated with any specific deity? In Ugaritic literature Baal is portrayed as a bull mating with his sister Anat who was a female calf. Does ...
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2answers
138 views

Kashrut--idol in restaraunt

A popular restaraunt here in Yerushalayim has a small idol on its cash register. Every paying customer will see it. The staff will answer your questions about it, and recommend reading. Its' ...
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1answer
370 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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2answers
95 views

Idol as a reference point for location

לִפְנֵי פִּי הַחִירֹת בֵּין מִגְדֹּל וּבֵין הַיָּם לִפְנֵי בַּעַל צְפֹן (Shmot 14:2) There is a Halacha that says you may not say "let's meet by such and such an Idol" yet here the Torah does ...
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61 views

Would a Jew be allowed to partake in pudding that symbolized a divinity

Would a Jew be allowed to partake in the festivities of Nowruz which involves 7 haft-seen, 7 different foods that each symbolize a different divinity?
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1answer
63 views

Are “dream catchers” considered to be avodah zarah?

Are "dream catchers" considered to be avodah zarah? Dreamcatcher: a small hoop containing a horsehair mesh, or a similar construction of string or yarn, decorated with feathers and beads, believed to ...
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42 views

Would an Islamic Bank Account be preferable to a Jew?

Islamic bank accounts do not involve interest or fees for loans of money and prevents the bank from investing your money in various questionable businesses, like the pork and sex industries. Would it ...
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55 views

Are there Jewish sources regarding this degradation of the Jews of Prague

Are there Jewish sources regarding this degradation of the Jews of Prague? (Allowing it, protesting it (they should have been killed and not do it)) From ...
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39 views

Is it prohibited to say a bracha near an idol?

In the trades, some times home owners will have statues of Buddha or catholic stuff like saints and such. I've heard some rule idolatry today is not the same as before. Are there any prohibitions ...
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75 views

Is one allowed to read books written by Homer such as The Iliad or The Odyssey?

When I was in elementary yeshiva, I had to read both The Iliad and The Odyssey. Both these books focus on Greek mythology, specifically the Trojan War. Sefer HaChinukh 426:1 says: שלא לחן ולרחם ...
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43 views

When someone is gifted a divination object [closed]

A very good friend of mine gave me a divination object for a present. She spent a few years in the Peace Corps in Mongolia, and brought me back a little hide box with sheep and horse ankle bones, ...
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71 views

Non-Jew using a Jew's stuff for idol worship

It is forbidden for Jews to benefit from anything used for avodah zarah (idol worship). (Rambam Hilchot Avodah Zarah 7:2) In halacha #4 there, he gives the rules for when something becomes classified ...
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135 views

Pictures of rabbis in the living room

Are there any poskim prohibiting hanging Pictures of Rabbis in ones house? Lots of people do it but I never understood why this is not prohibited due to too much kavod for human being, which is close ...
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184 views

Is there a difference between an Icon and an Idol in Judaism [closed]

Many of the Christians refer the Idols of Jesus or cross as "Icon" and say that since they are actually religious symbols and hence cannot be Idols. It sounds absurd but does Judaism differentiate ...
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60 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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46 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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90 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 ...
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141 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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1answer
85 views

Is Warhammer (and similar games) an issue of avoda zara?

Are tabletop wargames, such was Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, and Kings of War an issue of avoda zara? To play the game you first have to purchase miniature figures of different races. Some are human, ...
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1answer
171 views

Is Transcendental Meditation kosher?

Transcendental Meditation is a popular form of meditation that, many practitioners claim, relieves psychological stress. Although it was founded an Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it is not at all ...
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116 views

Who is the author of “תוספות ”אילמלי on כתובות ל״ג עמ׳ ב׳?

תוספות on כתובות ל״ג עמ׳ ב׳‎ ("אלמלי") explains that the גמרא assumes that חנניה,‎ מישאל,‎ & עזריה were not forced to actually worship idolatry, but merely to bow down to a ...
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225 views

Should a Christian church as a whole be seen as an Idol Halachically

Churches here have a highly visible protruding cross (which is an Idol) on the roof and at many places all over the structure, does that mean the church itself becomes an Idol, i.e a large Idol, also ...
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46 views

Where is it written that anger is like idolatry

There is a gemara that says that anger is like a form of idolatry. Which gemara says this and where in the gemara is it written?
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1answer
990 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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1answer
256 views

Christianity as a test for jews

I was looking for sources demonstrating Christianity as a test for Jews. My search began when I was reading Rambam in Mishneh Torah (Laws of Kings 11:4; English): [...] Can there be a greater ...
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2answers
126 views

Was Mordechai correct in not bowing down?

The Megillah explains that Mordechai's refusal to bow to Haman is what provoked Haman and nearly resulted in the death of many Jews worldwide. Halachically was Mordechai correct in not bowing down, ...
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1answer
88 views

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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1answer
84 views

Destruction of Angel Worship Sites

PREFACE: THIS QUESTION IS MEANT PURELY THEORETICALLY AND NOT PRACTICALLY AT ALL!! According to Deuteronomy (12: 2) idolatrous sites are to be destroyed under certain circumstances. אַבֵּד ...
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175 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 ...
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176 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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163 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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2answers
66 views

Idolatry in Mitzrayim?

Within Ezekiel 20 there are a few verses that talk about idolatry and refer to Mitzrayim. That made me wonder if the Israelites in Egypt forgot the G-d of their parents or exchanged Him for the gods ...
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83 views

If the sages removed the desire for yetzer hora of avodah zora, what is left in terms of yetzer hara?

During the time of the second Beit HaMikdash, the 120 sages of the Great Assembly were granted the ability to rip out the desire for idolatry (yetzer hora of avodah zora) from the collective soul of ...