I'm an Italian Noahide

The prohibition against worship of false gods is an integral part of the Noahide Laws .

Rambam says in Melachim uMilchamot 9: 2 (English translation by Rabbi E. Touger):

"We should not allow them (Gentiles) to erect a monument, to plant an Asherah, to make images and like even though they are only for the sake of beauty".

I have not understood whether from this ruling it is inferred, on the halachic level, that the Gentiles are forbidden to make sculptures and/or always tridimensional images of human figures even for non-cult purposes. Indeed, for the Jews it is undoubtedly always forbidden to make sculptures and tridimensional human images (Avodat Kochavim 3: 10-11), but is the ban also similarly extended for the Gentiles?

I give a practical example: in my hometown, Catania, in one of the main squares there is a large marble statue depicting the famous classical musician Vincenzo Bellini,my fellow citizen: is this a violation of the Noahide Laws?

  • Dear Amos, the Jewish Halacha does not deal with the details of the 7 Noahide Mitzvos. There are some statements here or there but no practical Halachah can be concluded from it. Judaism is too busy with our own Halachot. In general, to your question, while nowadays some consider [some branches of] Christianity as idolatry, no statue or image that's not worshiped by Gentiles can be considered idolatry. We have lots of statues of real people in Israel and nobody considers it idolatry here.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 21:03
  • Certainly from Maimonides preceding words it sounds like he holds that it's forbidden: וכל שאין בית דין של ישראל ממיתין עליה אין בן נח נהרג עליה. ואע"פ שאינו נהרג אסור בכל. ואין מניחין אותו להקים מצבה. ולא ליטע אשרה. ולא לעשות צורות וכיוצא בהן לנוי: - Any (idolatry-related act) for which an Israelite court would not execute (the perpetrator) a Noachide would (likewise) not be executed. However, even though he isn't executed, he's forbidden in all (of these acts) and we don't allow him to erect a monument, nor to plant an asheira, nor to create images and the like as decorations.
    – Loewian
    Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 4:59
  • @AlBerko there are many things that happen in Israel that nobody bats an eyelash that are not in accordance with halakhah. That isn't really a proof of anything. I would however agree that this is not a robust area of halakhah given that Jews have not been sovereign over gentiles for quite some time. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 14:33
  • @Amos74 a close reading of the Rambam's restatement of law here shows that he understood it to be improper for Jews ("we should not allow/אין מניחין אותו") to permit gentiles to erect such creations, even for beauty. He does not articulate an overt prohibition on gentiles to do so. This to me would indicate that where gentiles are not subject to a proper Jewish court, this would not be enforced as there is no entity that is being compelled to do so and gentiles are not independently forbidden to do so. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 14:41
  • @Deuteronomy I understand what you mean. There is also the different translation "we do not allow", used by Sefaria and confirmed to me by the editor of the site Mechon Mamre. I don't know which is the most precise translation, I don't know Hebrew and perhaps there is a textual variant, which is quite frequent for the Mishneh Torah, as you sure know. . According to Rav Cherki and the curator of Mechon Mamre, Rambam establishes a real prohibition here.
    – Amos74
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


I transcribe below the response issued on the matter, upon my request, by Rav Oury Cherki, author of the work "Brit Shalom", halachic code of the Noahide Law approved by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel:

"Rambam is the only one possek who forbids. The other poskim, as you, did not find a source for this. So it is not forbidden".

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