My nephew showed me a new video game of his, Zelda: Breadth of the Wild. It's a massive action adventure game.

The relevance of this game to MY is as follows. Part of the game involves collecting objects, and once you collect enough you have to bring them to a Temple. Once there, there's a statue of a god and you have to interact with it. You have the option to pray to it, and by doing so you give it the objects and get some upgrade to your stamina.

Is there any halachic or hashkafic issue with virtual Avodah Zara? One couldn't do this in real life, so I'm wondering if doing it in a video game is just as bad or no. You're actively choosing to pray to what's classified as an idol. My understanding of Avodah Zara is the actions are prohibited even if one doesn't believe in what their doing. Here you're not doing any actions, but you're thinking about doing them. If I recall correctly from the gemarra in Kiddushin (30b?) The thoughts of Avodah Zara are just as bad as the action (although this might refer exclusively to belief).

This question assumes there's no inherent issue in playing video games in the first place

  • 1
    "You're actively choosing to pray to what's classified as an idol" That's completely false. You're choosing to push a button at a designated time. No prayer is actually happening. If I choose to call walking down the street "idol worship" it doesn't become forbidden – Double AA Sep 29 '17 at 20:12
  • @DoubleAA - To me that logic seems like saying, "I didn't murder that guy. The gun did." – ezra Sep 29 '17 at 21:35
  • 2
    @ezra more like: I didn't kill the guy; I said hi to him (but am choosing to call saying hi "killing") – Double AA Sep 29 '17 at 21:37

It is forbidden to play the game. From Din Online:

Avodah Zarah related game


I was paying this game which had a story of the creation of the world with different figures that helped create the world in this game. This is inspired by a set of books and might have its basis in avodah zarah. In the game you help one of these figures do something. It is not actual worship you just help him with something that would save people in the game. Am I allowed to play this game? Also is it considered Avodah Zarah or Shituf? Thank you


I don’t think that playing the game is actual avodah zara, nevertheless, it is associating oneself with avodah zara concepts, and we have an obligation, to distance ourselves from connection with such things. Therefore you should not play this game.

Note that the rabbi makes it clear that playing the game is not actual avodah zarah, but associating oneself with avodah zarah which is forbidden.

  • 1
    I think he makes it clear that it is NOT forbidden but that he thinks it's a bad idea – Double AA Sep 29 '17 at 21:39
  • 1
    This is referring to a game that is inspired by actual avoda Zara unlike the game in the OP which is just pure fantasy – Double AA Sep 29 '17 at 21:40
  • 1
    @DoubleAA - "Have its basis" more than Legend of Zelda? – ezra Sep 29 '17 at 21:43
  • 1
    In the OPs case there is no avoda zara to associate with – Double AA Sep 29 '17 at 21:43
  • 1
    Many many games and stories are part of a chain of inspiration that hearkens back, in many cases, to systems of worship. Tolkien is based on a combination of Indo-European polytheism mixed with Christianity along with a good dose of originality. Was that originality enough to make anything based on it non-religious? Honestly I have no idea, but no one that I know actually considers admiring the Elvish language to be learning a holy language, so it seems pretty remote. – Robert Columbia Sep 30 '17 at 12:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .