Is the Buddha statue (or Hindu statues) a problem at Kosher Indian restaurants?

(This is different than the cat question since the cat is only a good-luck superstition and these are actual idols)

  • 2
    I think the question is whether there is an obligation for you to smash it. (There's historical precedent for that, you know...)
    – Dave
    Aug 4 '10 at 3:22
  • 1
    Welcome back, Yahu. We missed you during the Shiv'im spectacularthon.
    – Isaac Moses
    Aug 4 '10 at 3:25
  • Has anyone ever seen a Buddha statue at any strictly-Kosher Indian restaurant? (There's no such restaurant in my city.) Dec 5 '12 at 22:52
  • @unforgettableid, yes. In my city.
    – Yahu
    May 13 '15 at 21:03

Rambam in Hilchot Avoda Zara Chapter 7 elucidates that areas outside of Israel under Jewish control should have avodah zara eradicated, while in Israel one is required to pursue the eradication of such materials. It seems that it would not be permitted to gain enjoyment from such statues, but since the restaurants aren't designated houses of worship it shouldn't be problematic to eat there. This is parallel to the case mentioned in 7:25 of a bathhouse which contains idols and is permitted to bathe there.

Buddhism is atheistic, while Hinduism is polytheistic, though I believe under Jewish law the idols of both are considered idol worship. (Rav Yuval Cherlow says as much regarding Buddhism, here http://www.moreshet.co.il/web/shut/shut2.asp?id=116720 , also Machon Torah VeHaretz says similarly http://www.kipa.co.il/ask/show/182919).

Ref: http://kodesh.mikranet.org.il/i/1407.htm

  • 1
    Buddhism is not necessarily atheistic. It's actually quite varied.
    – TRiG
    Jun 23 '12 at 20:53
  • it is debateable whether hindus are really polytheistic.
    – gamliela
    Dec 5 '17 at 13:30

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