Correct me if I'm wrong; I heard that it is forbidden for Avoda Zara temples to exist in Israel. What about in Chutz LaAretz? Must they be destroyed or may one make a synagogue out of it?

  • 3
    Is this specifically about temples in a pyramid form or any beit 'avodah zarah ? Commented Jul 2 at 3:14
  • Both mainly Pyramid Temples though like old Myan or Aztek Pyramid temple type
    – David
    Commented Jul 2 at 4:41
  • 1
    Is there a difference between pyramid temples and other temples?
    – Harel13
    Commented Jul 2 at 5:30

1 Answer 1


See this article: Smash!: The obligation to destroy idols by Rabbi Jack Abramowitz (extracts copied below).

You shall utterly destroy the places where the nations…worshipped their idols… (Deuteronomy 12:2)

It is a mitzvah to destroy idolatrous places wherever and whenever we have the opportunity to do so, but one need actively pursue the opportunity only in Israel.

This mitzvah applies to men and women in all times and places. It is discussed in the Talmud in tractate Avodah Zarah (45a-46a and 51b-52a). It is codified in the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 146. This mitzvah is #185 of the 248 positive mitzvos in the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos; it is not listed in the Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar of the Chofetz Chaim.

And see Mishneh Torah Hilchot Avodat Kochavim - Chapter Seven, Halacha 1

1 It is a positive commandment to destroy false deities, all their accessories, and everything that is made for their purposes, as [Deuteronomy 12:2] states: "You shall surely destroy all the places [where the gentiles... served their gods]" and, as [implied by Deuteronomy 7:5]: "Rather, what you should do to them is tear down their altars."

In Eretz Yisrael, the mitzvah requires us to hunt after idol worship until it is eradicated from our entire land. In the diaspora, however, we are not required to hunt after it. Rather, whenever we conquer a place, we must destroy all the false deities contained within.

[The source for this distinction is Deuteronomy 12:3, which] states: "And you shall destroy their name from this place," [implying that] you are obligated to hunt false deities in Eretz Yisrael, but you are not obligated to do so in the diaspora.

א מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה הִיא לְאַבֵּד עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וּמְשַׁמְּשֶׁיהָ וְכָל הַנַּעֲשֶׂה בִּשְׁבִילָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יב ב) "אַבֵּד תְּאַבְּדוּן אֶת כָּל הַמְּקוֹמֹת" וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים ז ה) "כִּי אִם כֹּה תַעֲשׂוּ לָהֶם" וְגוֹ'. וּבְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִצְוָה לִרְדֹּף אַחֲרֶיהָ עַד שֶׁנְּאַבֵּד אוֹתָהּ מִכָּל אַרְצֵנוּ. אֲבָל בְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ אֵין אָנוּ מְצֻוִּין לִרְדֹּף אַחֲרֶיהָ אֶלָּא כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנִּכְבּשׁ אוֹתוֹ נְאַבֵּד כָּל עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים שֶׁבּוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יב ג) "וְאִבַּדְתֶּם אֶת שְׁמָם מִן הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא". בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתָּה מְצֻוֶּה לִרְדֹּף אַחֲרֵיהֶן וְאִי אַתָּה מְצֻוֶּה לִרְדֹּף אַחֲרֵיהֶן בְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ:

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