Maimonides says in Avodat Kochavim, Chapter Eight:

It is permitted to derive benefit from anything that has not been manipulated by man or that was not made by man, even though it was worshiped [as a deity].

Does this mean that an idol fashioned by a robot can be benefitted from, since the idol was not fashioned by a man?

  • 1
    My understanding was that the Rambam was contrasting this with naturally made idols (i.e. a mountain that is served as a god). I suspect a machine-made idol would lean more towards being like a man-made idol for this rule. Although there are also differences between Jewish made and non-Jewish made idols, I wonder where this case would fall for that rule. Jun 28, 2021 at 14:47
  • 3
    Note that a robot has to be programmed by a human being. As a result it would be like something made by a tool and thus man-made. Jun 28, 2021 at 17:28


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