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

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Shovavim and idolatry

The initials of parashat Shemot to Mishpatim form the word Shovavim, which connect this period to Teshuva based on the verse of Jeremia 3:14 where the word Shovavim occurs. I also read this is a ...
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1answer
19 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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90 views

Names with origins of avoda zara

I gave my daughter a second name after my father's, for which I came up with a female version. I saw that the name does exist, but I never bothered to see the origin for some reason. Now, after five ...
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1answer
81 views

Milk from a worshipped cow

The gemara in Avodah Zarah 34b brings the shitta of Rav Achdevoi who holds that if one wants to be mekudeshes with intestinal fluid from a calf that was worshipped then the person is not mekudeshes. ...
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1answer
116 views

Praying in a mosque that used to be a church?

So I understand that it is NOT permitted to pray in a church building. I also understand that it IS permitted for a Jew to pray inside an Islamic masjid (pop., "mosque"). According to halakhah ...
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203 views

Visiting sites previously used for idol worship

Given the prohibition on entering a place of idol worship (Rambam, Peirush ha-Mishnayos, Avodah Zarah 1:3), when, if ever, is one permitted to visit a historical site that has been used as a place of ...
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9answers
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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 ...
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4answers
412 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 ...
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104 views

Their altars…and *his* asheirah?

Shemot 34:13: כִּי אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם תִּתֹּצוּן וְאֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּן וְאֶת אֲשֵׁרָיו תִּכְרֹתוּן For you shall dismantle their altars, break their monuments, and cut down his ...
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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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1answer
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Is Exodus 20:4 a command about icons or idols?

When The Lord says, "Do not make for yourself an image," does he mean an image for the purpose of worship, that is an idol, or any image whatsoever, such as the depiction of a narrative or a ...
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1answer
76 views

Aesthetics and chukoseihem

In general, there is a prohibition to adopt practices from other cultures (See, e.g., Maimonides' Laws of Idolatry 11; see also: ...
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80 views

How to understand Gd eating? [closed]

How does our tradition understand the mention in Devarim 4:28 of our Gd eating? In what respects does Gd "eat"? וַעֲבַדְתֶּם־שָׁ֣ם אֱלֹהִ֔ים מַעֲשֵׂ֖ה יְדֵ֣י אָדָ֑ם עֵ֣ץ וָאֶ֔בֶן אֲשֶׁ֤ר ...
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2answers
389 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
165 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
652 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 ...
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2answers
179 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 ...
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163 views

Does Maimonides Allow Prayer to Angels?

In his Mishna Commentary to Sanhedrin 10:1 Maimonides lists as his 5th principle the prohibition to pray to an angel even as an intermediary. He counts this in his enumeration of his 13 principles in ...
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3answers
331 views

Are Jews commanded to love Muslims?

Does the Jewish tradition command Jews to love Muslims, who believe in the same God as the Jews do, as opposed to Christians, who worship avodah zarah (A human being worshipped as an Idol)?
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4answers
106 views

What are we supposed to do with idolatry in Israel?

What is the halacha concerning what Jews should do with idolatry and idolaters in the land of Israel (considering that the Torah says in Deuteronomy 7:5 to cleanse the Holy Land from idolatry)? ...
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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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62 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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45 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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4answers
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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, ...
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intent on shema regarding idolatry

in the shema we recite "Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them" what intent should one have while reading this given that the ...
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2answers
300 views

Providing services to a forbidden ceremony

If a secular society criminalizes discriminating against a ceremony (e.g., a wedding between arayot [forbidden sexual unions, e.g., incest, bestiality, or homosexuality] or an idolatrous ritual), is a ...
2
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1answer
79 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
101 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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tevilat keilim - ger toshav and meshumad

Do keilim (eating utensils) bought from an artisan who is a ger toshav (observant non-Jew) require tevilah (ritual immersion)? Conversely, what if the artisan is a meshumad (Jewish idolator/heretic)?
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Status of Catholic saints in Judaism

Roman Catholics and other branches of Christianity have a concept of sainthood, where they bestow a status to someone based on posthumous miracles attributed to them. They also pray to them. ...
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11answers
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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 ...
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Waving or otherwise recognizing the English flag and its variants

Related to this question and this question the English flag and many of its variants from former colonies have the cross of someone who is recognized as a saint by Catholics, George. This cross was ...
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Is it allright to use/wave the Argentinian flag?

The Sun of May in the flag is inspired by an ancient Inca god. It is used by the Argentinian flag and the Uruguayan flag. It is a representation used as a homage to the ancient empire, inspired by ...
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1answer
84 views

Can a Jew drink wine of a ger toshav?

I've heard it said that a Jew cannot drink the wine of a non-Jew. Can a Jew drink the wine of a ger toshav? It appears to me that the reason a Jew cannot drink from a non-Jew's wine is that it is ...
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Holly Jolly Sukkos

An idol used by an idolater is assur b'hanaah (roughly, forbidden for use) and only loses that status if an idolater physically annuls it's "consecrated" status, e.g. by damaging it. Similarly, ...
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Questions regarding selling “mitzvah” items to Christians for use in their Church service

My understanding is that one is not aloud to intentionally sell anything to an oved avodah zarah ("idol worshipper") if he knows that he will use that item for his idol worshipping purpose. There are ...
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2answers
81 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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Does Judaism appreciate the wanton destruction of idolatry done by Islamic groups?

Many of the idolatrous heritage sites like Bamiyan Buddha, Sufi shrines, and Hindu idols are being destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists around the globe. Does Judaism allow a non Jew to demolish such ...
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1answer
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Are star stickers mutar?

Do any contemporary poskim discuss the usage of star stickers with regard to the prohibition of depicting celestial bodies (e.g. the glow-in-the-dark ones people put on walls and ceilings)? What if ...
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3answers
142 views

Depicting a constellation

Assuming the intention is at least partly for educational purposes, Is it mutar to arrange star stickers in the form of actual constellations (say, on a ceiling) or is that included in the prohibition ...
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1answer
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Is there a heter for mentioning the names of the Greek gods?

At the end of Rambam Hilchot Avodah Zara 5 (halacha 14 by some counts, 10 by others), he says ‫ ואפילו להזכיר שם עבודה זרה שלא דרך שבועה--אסור, שנאמר "לא תזכירו". לא יאמר אדם לחברו, שמור לי ...
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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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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
146 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
83 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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3answers
269 views

What exactly do Noahides do?

There is a modern "Noahide" movement(I believe propagated by the Lubavitcher Rebbe), where people join together to be b'nei noah and not part of another religion. From some googling, I've seen that ...
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218 views

is it permitted to make a snowman?

Is it permitted to make a snowman? Or is it considered constructing a graven image? Prompted by this: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/saudi-arabia-issues-fatwa---4967400
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2answers
142 views

Zoroastrianism .v.s. Judaism [closed]

Does anybody think Zoroastrianism inflenuced Judaism, cause online people say Zoroastrianism was the first monotheistic religion http://avesta.org, and that Judaism copied it, also that Zoroastrianism ...
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176 views

Is Zoroastrianism Avodah Zarah?

Are there sources that discuss whether Zoroastrianism is considered to be Avodah Zarah? (Note: I am mainly interested in seeing Jewish sources that discuss Zoroastrianism. Answers that just discuss ...