Questions tagged [avodah-zarah]

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

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May one tour the Acropolis in Athens, Greece? [duplicate]

The Acropolis with its Parthenon is Greece's #1 tourist attraction. Are there any halachic issues with touring the ruins of pagan temples?
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Why did Jethro want Moses' son to be an idolater?

The Midrash tells a strange story: When Moses said to Jethro, "Give me your daughter Tzipporah as a wife", Jethro answered, "If you do what I ask of you, I will give her to you as a ...
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How these malachim became involved with the origins of idolatry?

Parsha Shelach 13:33 says the following: And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. The ...
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Is “taking a knee” prohibited

Is it prohibited to perform "taking a knee" for Black Lives Matter? The question is about the action of taking the knee itself, not to support or rejection of the movement or its ideas. There is a ...
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Returning found item to house of idolatry

If one finds an item which belongs to a house of idolatry, should or could they return it to the institution? Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 266 and commentaries discuss the idolators and returning ...
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Owning a Buddha statue

Is owning a Buddha statue, having it displayed in a Jewish home, considered a transgression of idolatry, technically speaking?
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What does Judaism think of Unitarianism? [duplicate]

There is a Christian sect called Unitarianism. Unitarians believe in one G-d, rejecting the Trinity. They stress the oneness and unity of G-d. Famous Unitarian Chrsitsian are, for example, Sir Isaac ...
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Can Catholics be considered pious/G-d-fearing in the context that they believe their church to be their version of Rabbinical authority? [closed]

This question relates to people who are good in nature but mislead in practice and the situation they are raised within. Obviously, Judaism has issues with Catholicism in the sense it contradicts ...
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Movie on the history of the sages

I've always loved studying about our history and sages. In particular, I am quite a fan of Rabbi Akiva's life and adventures. With the quarantine, I have found myself with some extra time and was ...
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What rationale do the Rabbis use when differentiating amulets from recognized forms of idolatry?

The use of amulets for healing and protection has a long history in Judaism. I know that we are warned against idolatry when it comes to foreign worship practices around objects. (Prayer beads, Pagan ...
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Is there an analogy between the concept of “sefirot” and that of Hindu “devataas”? [closed]

I am an Italian noahide. I recently discovered that relevant rabbinic authorities have changed the traditional orientation of the Jewish position towards the Hindu faith, considered in the past to ...
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Who were the Sabians?

In the Guide, Maimonides talks about the religion of the Sabians (first idolators). He tells us that he has spent much time learning about the Sabian religion (he was sort of an anthropologist). After ...
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Lo Yiyheh is the first of the Ten Commandments?

The Ten Commandments, or more accurately the Ten Statements (עשרת הדברות), are pretty well known. The first is (I believe universally) understood as the statement אנכי השם אלקים, I am the Hashem your ...
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Bowing when davening outside

If one is davening outside, and one says aleinu* and wishes to bow, should one change how he bows? I have seen (h/t Harel13) it written that, when one says Birchat Hachama, one should bow to the ...
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9 year old Daughter Asked Me About god

My 9 year old learned in Sunday School about how we don't pray to idols but couldn't quite understand how god was any different. I wasn't sure how to approach the topic because I didn't know what they ...
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Are Messianics considered Avodah Zarah?

I know a similar question was asked about Christians, however I am talking about a case where a Jew that has become a Messianic and does not view Jesus as a God and still keeps Torah as well as ...
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Can Avodah Zarah acquire a state of Hekdesh?

What's the Halachic status of Avodah Zarah which someone somehow pronounced Hekdesh (even accidentally, like choosing the wrong jug of oil)? Does the Avodah Zarah accept Hekdesh? If it can become ...
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What exactly are the forbidden statues according to Yerushalmi- Avodah Zarah 3:1 18a?

We read in Yerushalmi- Avodah Zarah 3:1 18a (English translation by Rabbi Jacob Neusner): [A] All images are prohibited. [B] "Because they are worshipped once a year", the words of R. Meir ...
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Is it a sin to read a book arguing for the existence of G-d written by a Catholic? [closed]

So I bought this book written by a philosopher by the name of Edward Feser. His book is called "Five Proofs for the Existence of God". It can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Five-Proofs-...
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Rabbinical knowledge of idolatry

I heard once that the Sanhedrin had to know exactly what the different forms of idolatry were and how they worked in order to correctly judge cases of avodah zara brought before them. Does anyone know ...
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Hiring idolaters

Is one allowed to hire idolaters, if it is known that part of their salary is donated to idolatrous activities?
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Yirmiyahu and Zoroastrianism

In Yirmiyahu 6:25 and 20:3 he mentions the word magor. Is this related to the Zoroastrian deity magi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magi
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What is the exact position expressed by Rabbi Danzig's Chochmat Adam regarding three-dimensional human images?

I'm an Italian noahide. I read what Rambam says in Avodat Kochavim 3: 10-11 about the making of images by a Jew. I also read the following words in a Jewish forum: “The Torah says, "Don't make a ...
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What happened to Lovon's idols that were taken by Rochel?

In a comment on this question Did anyone (especially Yaakov) ever find out about the idols? Ezra says: In Genesis 35:1-4, Jacob requests his household to hand over "foreign deities", and he ...
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Bereishit 31:53 “chol”

In my Artscroll chumash, on Bereishit 31:53, there is an asterisk next to the two uses of "elohei" which refer to the "god" of Nachor and of "their fathers." It looks like this אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם *...
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What is in greater violation of the prohibition of blasphemy: Atheism vs Avoda Zara?

In the eyes of halacha, who is in greater violation of the prohibition of blasphemy, an idolator or an atheist? Whichever is worse, is that the case by both Jew and Non-Jew?
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Does definition of Nichush cover Middos based behavior?

The Gemmorah (on Gen 24) considers Eliezer's approach to choosing a wife a [forbidden] Nichush. IIRC it was based on a girl's special [and seemingly rare] virtues and not blind chance. If I was truly ...
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Source for Rashi's claim that some nations worshiped dust?

Rashi (Gen 18,4) on "יֻקַּח־נָא מְעַט־מַיִם וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם׃" says: כַּסָּבוּר שֶׁהֵם עַרְבִיִּים שֶׁמִּשְׁתַּחֲוִים לַאֲבַק רַגְלֵיהֶם He thought they were Arabians who worship the dust of ...
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Does the Torah encourage monotheistic evangelism? [duplicate]

Although Judaism is not a proselytizing religion in the classical sense, is there any responsibility to bring non-jews to monotheism and away from idolatry?
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Is Unitarian Christianity עבודה זרה? [duplicate]

According to Wikipedia: "Unitarians believe that mainline Christianity does not adhere to strict monotheism, but that Unitarians do by maintaining that Jesus was a great man and a prophet of God, ...
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Is there anyway to repent for proselytizing for idol worship?

In hilchos teshuva of the Rambam (4:1), he states that one for proselytizes for idol worship is unable to repent. Are there any other sources that comment on anyway to repent for such a sin?
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Adopting idolatrous Babylonian name of Month Tamuz

Jerusalem Rosh Hashana 6a דא"ר חנינה שמות חדשים עלו בידם מבבל R'Hanina said: the names of the Months were brought with them from Babylon The Gemmorah explains the process of adopting the ...
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Did Avoda Zara Work? [duplicate]

Did avoda zara actually work and was thereby forbidden (Devarim 30:17), or was idolatry a wasted endeavor and forbidden due to its foolishness?
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Are dolls/stuffed bears/action figures forbidden due to the fact they might be considered idols? [duplicate]

It's not uncommon for children to play with dolls. Girls with "American Girl" dolls and baby dolls while boys typically have action figures and the like. Do these not violate the rules on idols ...
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Why did God not accept the people's repentance in the days of King Yoshiyahu?

After a disastrous 57 years (the reigns of Menashe and his son Amon), during which idolatry was rampant in Judah and Judaism was threatened with extinction, the good king Yoshiyahu comes on the scene ...
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How can ancestors leave a makom l'hisgader?

The gemara in חולין on 6b / 7a (apologies, on mobile so can't provide link) discusses how the copper snake of Moshe should have been destroyed by earlier Kings (specifically referring to those kings ...
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Do Samaritans go to Olam Haba?

My question is if samaritans go to Olam Haba. It would seem pretty obvious except for the fact they don’t recognize the Jewish people as Hashem’s Chosen. They also have their own Slightly altered ...
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Prophecy and idolatry [duplicate]

The Steinsaltz commentary to Arakhin 32b notes that the evil inclination to worship idols was prevalent during the First Temple period but not during the time of the Second Temple. It goes on to say ...
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What did Elijah say about Baal?

When Eliahu HaNavi confronted the prophets of Baal and they couldn't deliver, he told them [1Kings 18:27]: וַיְהִ֨י בַֽצָּהֳרַ֜יִם וַיְהַתֵּ֧ל בָּהֶ֣ם אֵלִיָּ֗הוּ וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ קִרְא֤וּ בְקוֹל־גָּדוֹל֙ ...
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Sources on the Rogochover and Islam

Someone once told me the Rogochover says that Muslims are idol worshippers, as they secretly worship the moon. I couldn't find where the Rogochover actually writes this. This article (fn. 20) says ...
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Can a Jew encourage non-Jews to convert to other monotheistic religions?

Would it be permissible for a Jew to encourage or help a non-Jew convert from a faith that involves avodah zara to one that does not? For example a Christian (on the notion that Christianity is avodah ...
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Idolatrous origin of the name TAMMUZ

The Gemmorah in [Jerusalem Rosh Hashana 6a][1] explains the process of adopting the Babylonian names on Months instead of Biblical ones. דא"ר חנינה שמות חדשים עלו בידם מבבל R'Hanina said: the ...
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Why is one who's influenced by a Persian priest liable to death?

It says in Shabbat 75b that if a magosh tries to influence a Jew to adopt even a single one of his customs, that Jew should be put to death: אמר רב זוטרא בר טוביה אמר רב: ... והלומד דבר אחד מן המגוש ...
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How can people dance around bonfires on Lag Lo'Omer - it's darchei emori?

In Tosephto Shabbos 7:1, it says that one who dances by a bonfire is following in the ways of the Emorites. In light of this, how can so many supposedly frum Jews dance around bonfires on Lag Lo'Omer?
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Was Avodah Zara (idolatry) Effective?

For centuries Idol Worship was extremely popular across the ancient world & even in the Jewish community. I highly doubt that all these people were busy building & worshipping statutes based ...
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May one graduate in a multi-purpose church building? [duplicate]

Suppose a school graduation is held in a building that is used for church services as well as various kinds of non-religious cultural events. One example of such a venue is the United Palace theater; ...
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Why can Avodah Zara be בטל בשישים?

If עבודה זרה is so strict, why can it be בטל by 1/60 in דבר שלא במינו? (see :עבודה זרה ע"ג)
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Standing in the presence of an idol / entering a room which has an idol

The question is remarkably simple (even though the answer may not be so). Is it allowed by halacha to stand in the presence of an idol or enter a room where an idol is present ? Specifically, I'm ...
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Is one allowed to sleep in a room/house where there are images of JC, Virgin Mary and other avodah zarah?

Is a Jew permitted to sleep in a room/house where there are idolatrous images on the walls, such as JC, virgin Mary, etc.? What about non-Jews?
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Should one wish for the destruction of buildings of idol worship?

Two sequential questions, prompted by the Notre Dame fire: Is one obligated to wish that places of idol worship are consumed if they already are on fire? (I would think so, given e.g. OC 224:2) If so,...

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