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Okay, I'll try be a little bit more specific. Say someone was in possession of an angelic figure(s), they did not create the figure, they ascribe no power to the figure, and they certainly don't worship the figure. Rather they simply appreciate it as a work of art and beauty.

Now with the above points noted, would this individual actually be transgressing any Mitzvot? Now an argument could be made that the Beit Hamiqdash (and the Holy Ark itself) had many images of Keruvim adorning it, none of which were remotely idolatrous. However someone's home is not the Temple, so this is more the exception in such a case.

Although we aren't allowed to create such a depiction (at least under regular circumstances) or even more so worship them (G-d forbid), would we be permitted to own and display them simply as works of art, beauty and decoration?

Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

  • I have statues of gedolim.... – FalseMessiah Aug 5 at 23:18
  • Interesting question because I asked as to whether I could have Michelangelo Sistine Chapel Wall paper in the house and I was told no. – Daniel Ross Aug 6 at 2:43
  • @DanielRoss I assume because of the painting of G-d and Adam, not because of angels? – Mike Aug 6 at 23:36
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    Post-biblical Judaism, unlike Christianity, has intentionally toned down its once resplendent religious artistry, fearing that its adherents might thereby succumb to pagan influences (2 Kings 18:4), since Jews were dispersed amongst the idolatrous nations. – Lucian Aug 7 at 5:53
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According to Halachipedia:

The Torah prohibits constructing replicas of angelic beings such as Malachei HaSharet, Ofanim, Serafim, and Chayot HaKodesh (the four faces - a human, eagle, bull, and lion).[26] Some argue that the prohibition not only includes constructing these entities, but possessing them, as well,[27], but others disagree.[28] The Ramban and others hold that it is prohibited to construct replicas of upper heavenly entities even if they are two-dimensional,[29] but many disagree.[30] Nevertheless, one should be strict on the matter.[31] If one finds such an object, he may benefit from it but not keep it.[32]

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The following article on Aish here gives a good overview and answers your question.

It begins by pointing out the issue of recreating an image of celestial beings like you mention and then goes one to talk about the ownership of statues and the like.

It writes:

Although the Torah only forbids making such images (even when not idolatrous), it is rabbinically forbidden to own them as well, because of a concern that others will think the person made them or that he owns them to worship them.

Based on the above, it would appear problematic to own all humanlike figures such as dolls, figurines or action toys. (Some are stringent with lions as well.) Although some authorities are lenient with such items, as they are clearly not produced for idolatrous purposes, it is proper to be stringent. However, this only applies to complete human forms, not partial ones. It is likewise fine if they are damaged very slightly, such as by breaking off a finger or part of an ear.

In addition, such figures would only be problematic if they more or less resemble actual humans (or angels). A doll which appears humanlike but does not at all resemble an actual person, such as a Lego man or a Raggedy Ann doll, would not be an issue at all.

(Sources: Exodus 20:20, Talmud Avodah Zarah 43b, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 141:3-4,7, Igrot Moshe Y.D. II 54, Teshuvos V'Hanhagos I 804, Yabia Omer III Y.D. 8, Mishnah Halachos IV 109-110, XIII 124.)

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