Is a command from legal authorities required to demolish idols? Moreover, what counts as a legal authority in such a case?

e.g: You may find many Idols of Jesus in churches in the biblical Israel , and does it mean that they need to be demolished

  • I don't understand what you are asking. Are you asking if Jews only need to destroy idols after being told to do so by someone else, eg. a Beit Din? Why would you think yes or no? Why was your original title "Is it a halachic requirement to demolish Idolatry"? Are you wondering about how this law interacts with secular laws which may prohibit such actions? What is the example of the Jesus idol coming to show?
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2013 at 7:20
  • Ya, does a nod from authority required or not. eg: is it like the commandment to not eat pork which does not require any approval from authority.@DoubleAA
    – knowit
    May 26, 2013 at 11:41
  • You didn't answer any of my questions, and so I still don't know what you are asking. (Also pork is a bad comparison as it is a prohibition not a positive injunction.)
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2013 at 13:40
  • 2
    Are you asking about the approval of a religious legal authority such as a Beit Din or a prophet, or are you asking about a secular legal authority such as whatever government happens to rule in the area? (I asked you this in the first comment and you never responded.)
    – Double AA
    May 27, 2013 at 0:46
  • 1
    @msh210 I understood the meta post to mean net score of +1
    – Double AA
    May 27, 2013 at 2:21

2 Answers 2


It's not necessarily a public act, as a war or building Beit Hamikdash would be. Though, acting against legal authority isn't generally advisable.

A church was burnt in Jerusalem some time ago, resulting with the authorities financing the rebuilding of the place.

We need to try to bring the authorities themselves to back this act, not act against them. It seems to be a question of relevant authority more than legal.

  • can you add citation to this, Does the authority become apostate for rebuilding such places of Idolatry?
    – knowit
    May 26, 2013 at 6:57

It is required. (Deuteronomy 12:2, Rambam Positive Commandment #185 (English) and Laws of Avoda Zara 7 (English), Shulchan Aruch YD 146:14)

In the land of Israel the command includes seeking out the idols to destroy them, but outside of the land of Israel one must only destroy an idol if he happens to have it.

There is a blessing one can say before doing this Mitzva (Maharsha Brachot 57b, quoted by R Akiva Eiger OC 224):

ברוך אתה ה אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קידשנו במצוותיו וצוונו לעקור ע"ז מארצינו

  • 2
    the question asked was is authority required?, the citations only prove Idolatry is to be demolished, but is permission to be taken before doing so?
    – knowit
    May 26, 2013 at 5:58
  • Do you say the same blessing upon destroying idols outside of the Land of Israel?
    – Daniel
    Jun 24, 2016 at 19:29
  • @Daniel Seemingly not, though it's not clear if you just change the Nusach or omit it entirely. See ft 3 asif.co.il/?wpfb_dl=2404#_ftnref3 but note the Nuschaot in OC 224:2.
    – Double AA
    Jun 24, 2016 at 19:38

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