Questions tagged [avodah-zarah]

Worship of foreign deities, one of the three cardinal sins.

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1 answer
916 views

Why can I pronounce the name of a false god when reading from a sefer Torah in shul?

In Exodus 23:13 we read the following prohibition against pronouncing the names of false gods: Concerning all that I have said to you you shall beware, and the name of the gods of others you shall ...
1 vote
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Did Solomon worship pagan idols?

1 Kings 11:5-7 indicate that Solomon sought after the pagan gods. The Gemara states that these verses don't mean that Solomon himself worshipped idols, but rather that his wives did. Is there any ...
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What is the היתר to have long bangs and hairdos nowadays?

I remember hearing that there were gentiles from years ago (not sure what time period) that used to leave a lot of hair on the front of their heads and would have the rest of their hair either shaved ...
2 votes
1 answer
308 views

Responsa regarding the tooth fairy or alternatives

I'm looking for halachic opinions regarding actively allowing children to believe in the tooth fairy through giving them prizes for putting teeth under their pillow etc. I would also like to know if ...
2 votes
0 answers
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Why are attempts to predict the future as abhorrent as Molech worship?

Devorim 18 (10, 11) lists in possukim 9 & 11 the following activities as תוֹעֲבֹ֖ת (abhorrent practices): consigns a son or daughter to the fire, or who is an augur, a soothsayer, a diviner, a ...
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Gentile Participation in Non-Jewish Wedding Ceremony

Concerning wedding ceremonies that may include idolatrous elements in which a gentile might be asked to participate due to family custom, Rabbi Moishe Wiener writes (in "The Divine Code"): ...
1 vote
2 answers
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Chukkot leshem Avodah Zarah

I was reading the Rashi to Dev. 16:22, in which he says that setting up pillars is forbidden "now" since the Canaanites introduced them into their idolatrous worship. I was looking for the ...
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1 answer
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Difference between the First and Second Commandments

In the Ten Commandments, the First Commandment prohibits having false gods. The Second Commandment prohibits making carved images. Is the problem with carved images that they can be worshiped? If so, ...
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Avoda Zara - Star & Crescent

Are there any sources on restrictions on objects adorned with the Islamic star and crescent like there are the Christian cross? I'm aware that whether Islam is Avoda Zara is debated, but I'm not ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Bobblehead - Avoda Zara issue?

Would there be any issue (like Avoda Zara perhaps) with gifting someone a bobblehead of a family member?
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1 answer
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Two commentaries on the ir ha-nidachat

The Chabad translation of Mishneh Torah includes an editor's note to Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 4 saying: There is a unique dimension to the laws of an עיר הנדחת that is not found in regard to any of ...
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Is listening to music composed for avodah zara assur in all contexts?

I read that R' Yisrael Moshe Hazan, the former chief Rabbi of Rome allowed for church tunes to be incorporated into nigunim for his community, and as a result many of the niggunim used ...
2 votes
1 answer
443 views

Hospital named after Idol

Is it allowed to go to a hospital named after an idol with an idol on display in the lobby? By giving them money, you support them to continue, and they are doing so called "good works" in ...
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Halachic status of Hindu greetings

I'm not intimately familiar with Hinduism as a religion, but I have a passing awareness of it as potentially an avodah zarah due to its paganism and polytheistic tendencies. My question is as follows. ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is it Mutar to Listen to Music Recorded in a Church?

I read somewhere that listening to music recorded in a church is asur, because it essentially brings the church into one's home. This is common practice for classical music. Has anyone heard of or not ...
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How did Joseph become vizier under Pharaoh, an idol, without violating the prohibition against encouraging others to idol worship? Same Q for Esther

I'm definitely not suggesting either Joseph or Esther broke this prohibition (at all, or at worst unless it was necessary to save life or other exceptions granted by the Torah). I have little ...
2 votes
0 answers
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Is trinitarian Christianity really Shituf? [duplicate]

Recently I have gotten involved in anti-missionary work after I came across a couple Jews tragically entrenched in Christianity. I was forced to study about Christian theology to help them return to ...
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"These and those are idolaters" – what is the problem exactly?

According to the Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 21:7, Zohar 2:170b), an angel was accusing Israel and claiming why Hashem should save them and drown the Egyptians: "Just like Egyptians, the Hebrews are ...
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Who reinvented idolatry after Noah? How did it re-emerge? [duplicate]

@Deuteronomy’s comment on this question made me wonder what caused the reemergence of idolatry after the flood. From Enosh to Noah, there were generations of idolaters. Noah believed in God, and ...
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Is doing a Haka dance potentially an issue of Avodah Zarah?

The Maori tribes have an interesting custom of performing a Hakah dance, (which you can find on YouTube) would doing one violate laws against Avodah Zarah?
9 votes
1 answer
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Belief-with worship only towards HaShem - in the real existence of intermediaries between the Almighty and the Gentile Nations

I am an Italian Noahide. There are several discussions in this forum about shituf, understood as associating other entities with HaShem. Unless I am mistaken, it is generally held that on the halachic ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is Marvel considered idolatry?

Just wondering if watching a Marvel movie or TV show [besides for the prohibitions on watching secular TV and movies in general] is considered idolatry or not, being that it deals with many pagan &...
2 votes
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Is celebrating the secular new year forbidden or problematic since it is based around a calendar relating to Jesus' birth?

The secular calendar in most countries is based around the BC/AD system. This calendar is derived from the Julian and Gregorian calendar traditions which mark the birth of Jesus as a focal point for ...
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Question about the religious life of beni Israel in Egypt before the Exodus?

How was the religious life of beni Israel in Egypt before the Exodus? It is well known that the ancient Egyptian viewed their kings as gods, because the divine power of kingship was incarnated in them,...
7 votes
1 answer
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Pronunciation of YHVH in the Pesel Micha story

The Minchas Shai on Shoftim 17:3 quotes the Gemara (Shevuos 35a) and Maseches Sofrim (4:6) regarding if the names יהוה and אלהים in the story of Micha's idol are holy or not. The Tanna Kama says that ...
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Permissible to enter "church" that is not really Christian? [duplicate]

I understand that the near-universal opinion among Orthodox rabbis is that it's forbidden to enter a church for virtually any reason (other than saving your own life or something like that.) My ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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When did עבודה זרה start?

Rashi says on the posuk (בראשית,ד,כ) of: וַתֵּ֥לֶד עָדָ֖ה אֶת־יָבָ֑ל ה֣וּא הָיָ֔ה אֲבִ֕י יֹשֵׁ֥ב אֹ֖הֶל וּמִקְנֶֽה וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה בּוֹנֶה בָתִּים לַעֲ"זָ, כְּמָה דְּאַתְּ אָמַר סֵמֶל ...
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1 answer
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Selling Christmas ornaments?

Long ago I met a Jewish couple whose business was selling secular Christmas ornaments and paraphernalia. Is there universal agreement on whether this is halachically allowed?
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In Golden Calf tragedy, who was hit with Heavenly plague?

Th the aftermath of the Golden Calf there were two rounds of executions: the massacre of 3000 fellow Jews and the Heavenly plague: "וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְנֵי־לֵוִי כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה וַיִּפֹּל מִן־הָעָם ...
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How were the 3000 victims of the Golden Calf Massacre different from the rest?

In the Golden Calf massacre roughly 3000 people were killed: "וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְנֵי־לֵוִי כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה וַיִּפֹּל מִן־הָעָם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כִּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אַלְפֵי אִישׁ׃" "The Levites did ...
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1 vote
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Marketing as Christian products [closed]

I am selling posters with pasukim on them on Amazon. Many people are searching for "Christian Posters" if I put this keyword in the title of my listing, it helps with ranking for those ...
2 votes
1 answer
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How many Jews sinned with the Moabite girls and Ba'al Peor?

The Passuk (Bamidbar 25:9) tells us that 24,000 Jews died in the plague following the sin of the Moabite girls and Ba'al Pe'or. Is that the total sum of Jews that sinned or were there more? I had ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Viewing idols in an art museum

If one goes to an art or history museum that has a room that showcases the idols of ancient people, may one view them? I heard quoted from Rabbi Moshe Stav (a rebbe in Eretz Yisrael) that you can go ...
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Rav ha Meiri's interpretation of the term "notzrim" in Talmud Bavli-Avodah Zarah 6a and 7b

According to the legal determination established in Talmud Bavli -Avodah Zarah 6a and 7b, the halachic status of christians (“notzrim”) appears to be that of idolaters: Avodah Zara 6a Avodah Zarah 7b ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Is the prohibition to praise idolators inclusive of all gentiles?

Let say someone has gentile students who are doing well, and they are not idolators. Is it permissible to praise and recognize their good deeds?
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Idols made by robots/machines

Maimonides says in Avodat Kochavim, Chapter Eight: It is permitted to derive benefit from anything that has not been manipulated by man or that was not made by man, even though it was worshiped [as a ...
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Is it forbidden to chant Om?

It is a common Hindu meditative practice to chant Om, which is the sound of the universe. Would doing so then transgress mitzvah 35 in Sefer Hamitzvot that prohibits chanting incantations which would ...
14 votes
1 answer
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When did idolatry begin, post-flood?

Related. Rambam famously describes how idolatry began in the days of Enosh (Hil. Avodah Zara 1:1-2) and finishes off by writing: "but the Rock of Ages, not a man was there to recognize Him or ...
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3 votes
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Rav Moshe Sternbuch's position on the belief in HaShem for Gentiles

Among the answers to the following question in this forum: Is it permitted for a Ben-Noach be an atheist? I read that, according to Rav Moshe Sternbuch, as he writes in Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3: 264 and ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Is the following Trinitarian conceptual understanding of the deity polytheistic according to Jewish theology? [closed]

My previous question on this topic was closed because it required knowledge of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. To avoid that problem, I am proposing a particular formal definition of the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why is the Trinity considered polytheistic in traditional Jewish thought? [closed]

I've read a couple questions on this site and other Jewish sources stating the traditional Jewish view is the Christian concept of the Trinity is polytheistic. However, I haven't found any questions ...
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May one listen to Mozart's The Magic Flute?

The Magic Flute is a famous opera by Mozart. Its lyrics can be found here. It seems to be completely secular to me. It includes lyrics that include characters talking to pagan gods, but Mozart himself ...
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3 answers
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What is the reasoning for not entering churches and other non-Jewish places of worship?

There are multiple questions about entering churches here, most of which are marked as duplicates and pointed to this one. What none of them address, however, is why in the halacha it is forbidden to ...
5 votes
0 answers
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Bowing at the royal coat of arms

In British Magistrate and Crown Courts the royal coat of arms is located behind the bench where the magistrates or judge sit. It is etiquette for solicitors/barristers and anyone giving evidence to ...
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1 answer
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Clothed brands that might be used for idol worship

Is wearing clothes that have a tag in the back or in the front considered idolatry if you don’t know if someone might idolize the brand? Should you rip off the tag if you don’t know if someone might ...
6 votes
2 answers
183 views

Sources used by Maimonides in Mishneh Torah-Avodat Kochavim 1:1

In Mishneh Torah-Avodat Kochavim 1:1 Rambam states: "During the times of Enosh, mankind made a great mistake, and the wise men of that generation gave thoughtless counsel. Enosh himself was one ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Did the conversos who continued to live as crypto-Jews in Spain have any Halakhic justification?

Avoda Zara is 'ייהרג ואל יעבור', one of the few transgressions a Jew should give up their life for and be willing to die 'על קידוש השם'. In the medieval period, around the time of the Spanish ...
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2 answers
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If there is no longer any Avodah Zarah, why do we need to follow the relevant halachah?

If it is accepted that Avodah Zarah has effectively ceased to exist, as suggested elsewhere on this site, why do we need to follow any of the relevant halachah, that applies to social relationships ...
1 vote
2 answers
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Is Avodah Zarah still the great danger that it once was? [duplicate]

I have no direct sources, but I seem to recall that various Chassidic rabbis, maybe others too, have taught that idolatry no longer has any real, or effective power. I think this is limited to Jews, ...
1 vote
3 answers
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What, if anything, is different about Christianity compared to other forms of Avodah Zara?

Idolatry, defined as worshipping something or someone other than Hashem is forbidden to jews. This goes all the way back to Avraham and then is stated explicitly in the commandments received by Moshe ...
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