Two sequential questions, prompted by the Notre Dame fire:

  1. Is one obligated to wish that places of idol worship are consumed if they already are on fire? (I would think so, given e.g. OC 224:2)

  2. If so, and if Christianity is considered idol worship, does the unique importance of Notre Dame make this apply less?

The Conference of European Rabbis and others sent supportive messages post facto, but that could have been a) mishum eiva and/or b) sympathy for people, but not the building itself.


2 Answers 2


This is only a draft answer to N.D's fire:

  1. As Rambam discusses in the non-censored version at the end of Hil. Melachim (I think) about the importance of Christianity in overall spreading the Word of G-d, it should be weighted against two aspects:

    • The possible problem of idolatry in certain branches of Christianity

    • The never-ending anti-semitism that took the lives of millions of Jews in the last two millennia.

    Therefore the implications of the destruction and/or restoration of a church must be weighted one against the other.

  2. Idolatry is the antithesis to the reality to one G-d, so one who wishes to expand Hashem's presence in this world certainly must wish to annul idolatry in any way. And there are numerous verses in the Torah and Prophets that support this.


You can "wish" for whatever you want. Your thoughts are your own. I am not sure you could control them anyway. (Action is a different matter.)

  • Can I wish for my neighbor's wife?
    – Double AA
    Apr 17, 2019 at 19:31
  • @DoubleAA -- Please disclose the mechanism by which you can prevent yourself from having "bad" thoughts. Most of us don't know it. Apr 17, 2019 at 19:37
  • 1
    The question is not whether one can but whether one should... Apr 17, 2019 at 21:36
  • @MauriceMizrahi Ibn Ezra on tenth commandment, summarized here: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/77351/1852 Apr 18, 2019 at 3:39
  • @Arithmomaniac -- We are talking about "bad" thoughts entering your mind, not about coveting. (For reference, the commandment against coveting applies only to things God said you cannot have, such as your neighbor's possessions. It does not apply to the possessions themselves in the abstract. For example, if your neighbor has a beautiful house, there is nothing wrong with you desiring to own a similar house and working hard to earn it. Otherwise, how would you ever acquire anything if you did not desire it first? The prohibition is against wanting your neighbor's house specifically.) Apr 18, 2019 at 13:40

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