Let's suppose that someone is a Jew by conversion (Ben Noach) and his father is Christian. If he goes to church (assuming that in the church they practice idolatry by worshipping the trinity) just to make his father happy would this be a violation of Halacha?

Let's suppose this person isn't absorbing anything, isn't singing, isn't believing in the idolatry, but is just there to make his father happy. Would we be lenient and permit him to enter a church?

A second case would be a Jew that goes to a church to save another Jew from idolatry, as it would be considered as saving a life (from a capital sin of avoda zarah). I saw a Rabbi talking about some Jews that did this to rescue other Jews from the idol worship of Christianity.

What are the halachic opinions?

  • The Shulchan Aruch is very clear about staying away from such places ,even 4amos away from the building itself. Rav Moshe held even to see artwork is also prohibited .
    – sam
    Dec 27, 2018 at 16:34
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    Your title says "enter" but it sounds like you're talking about actually attending their religious services. Is that correct? If so, could you edit to clarify? Thank you. Dec 27, 2018 at 17:14
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    Elisha gave Na'aman permission to go into a pagan temple with his King, to aid him in bowing down to his god. Maybe the prohibition of not entering a place of avodah zarah doesn't apply to non-Jews/Bnei Noach? See Melachim B. 5:17-19.
    – ezra
    Dec 27, 2018 at 18:06
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    Is the person in your question Jewish (either by birth or by conversion), or are they a Ben Noach (a righteous non-Jew)? It's unclear from your question.
    – ezra
    Dec 27, 2018 at 18:07
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    Your two cases may be different enough to require asking individually. If someone is a Jew by conversion, then he is not a ben Noach. You are conflating two different questions. That makes this three separate questions, theat least two seem to be duplicates. Dec 28, 2018 at 3:45

2 Answers 2


I assume you understand that entering a Church (especially for religious services) is forbidden by many sources and contemporary rabbanim (see e.g., R Doniel Neustadt summary or Halachipedia here) and are asking whether doing it to please one's non-Jewish father becomes permitted?

Rashi learns from the verse (Vayikra 19:3)

You shall each revere his mother and his father, and keep My sabbaths: I the LORD am your God.


Scripture places the commandment of observing the Sabbath immediately after that of fearing one’s father in order to suggest the following: “Although I admonish you regarding the fear due to your father, yet if he bids you: "Desecrate the Sabbath", do not listen to him” — and the same is the case with any of the other commandments. This, it is evident, is the meaning since Scripture adds "I am the Lord your God" (the plural) — both you and your father are equally bound to honour Me! Do not therefore obey him if it results in making My words of no effect.

From this I understand that one shouldn't overcome the prohibition of entering a church because of wanting to please one's father.

A second reason might be that a convert loses his family connection, as such he doesn't have a formal commandment of obeying his father (although he is still bound to honor and respect them, see e.g., here).

As always here, should this be a real question, you should CYLOR.

PS. It is better to have one question per post - I would therefore suggest you split your second question and post it separately. It likely will have a different answer from the one above. In the meantime see some sources here and here.


There is no chiyuv of Kibbud Av for a Ger as when he becomes Jewish he is כקטן שנולד see Chevel Nachaloso so of course he cannot enter a house of idolatry with his Gentile father (if the Church is considered Avoda zara) and transgress Hashems Mitzvos.

To save his own life he is allowed to enter a house of idolatry as stated in Shulchan Aruch Yore Dea 157,3. But to save someone else from idol worship it would seem that שב ועל תעשה עדיף that one should stay still and not stop his friend idol worshiping as the Rashba brought down in the Bach 157 says one has to kill himself rather than even enter a house of idol worship and the Bach only permits entering to save his life:

הרשב"א דאפי' היכא דאיכא פיקוח נפש אסור ליכנס לחצר עכו"ם הרא"ש והר"ן חולקים על הרשב"א ומתירין והכי נקטינן להקל בסכנת נפשות

See “Worship idols or I kill another Jew” - what should one do? for further discussion

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