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Questions tagged [avodah-zarah]

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

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Are there any ill-effects for mis-directed prayers?

Inspired by the end of this answer: Just remember that all non-Jews don't follow the Sheva Mitzvot and could [even] be in Avodah Zarah and then would...a blessing [of theirs] matter? It might even ...
Seth J's user avatar
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7 votes
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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 ...
Heshy's user avatar
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6 votes
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115 views

May a Jewish actor playing a role swear "falsely"?

Avraham the Jew from New Jersey puts on a costume, takes off his head covering, walks onto a stage, or movie set ... action! And says "I, John Jacob Schmidt of Oklahoma, do solemnly swear that I ...
Shalom's user avatar
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Graven Image Question

Can someone give me sources from Tanakh and Halakhah on why it is permissible for a Jewish [certified kosher] bakery to make images from Christianity and their winter holiday? And if it is permissible,...
Edwin Avalos's user avatar
6 votes
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266 views

Are Tibetan Prayer Flags a form of Avodah Zara?

I recently received in the mail a set of prayer flags as part of a mailer, which got me thinking (and researching). Without a question, using the flags normally would be an act of darchei emorie or ...
Isaac Kotlicky's user avatar
5 votes
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154 views

Thanking Christian for his prayers

Taking into account that Christianity is Avoda Zara I would like to ask the following question. I met a missionary last night who started off the conversation saying that he prays for Israel and then ...
Moz's user avatar
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5 votes
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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 ...
EliDov 's user avatar
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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 ...
Moshe Steinberg's user avatar
5 votes
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163 views

Is there a problem with buying a Christian a Christmas gift?

To make the question easier, suppose that the recipient of the Christmas gift is a devout Christian who actually celebrates for religious reasons. Potentially there are several issues with buying a ...
DonielF's user avatar
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5 votes
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Waving or otherwise recognizing the English flag and its variants

Related to this question and this question the English flag and many of its variants from former colonies have the cross of someone who is recognized as a saint by Catholics, George. This cross was ...
Yishai's user avatar
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Are gold (or silver) jewelry charms considered avodah zarah?

Many years ago, I started to buy small gold charms specifically with Jewish symbols for my mother who added them to a necklace, much like gold charm bracelets circa 50 years ago. Among them were tiny ...
Madeleine's user avatar
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What are the ways of the Amorites?

When we are told not to go in the ways of the Amorites (Shabbat 67a, Yerushalmi Shabbat 6:9), However the practices enumerated there do not seem to be specific to the Amorite people. Were there other ...
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Is the board game "Snakes and Ladders" kosher?

It appears to be a game based on the Hindu religion. Here is an excerpt from wikipedia: The game was popular in ancient India by the name Moksha Patam. It was also associated with traditional Hindu ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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4 votes
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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 ...
rosends's user avatar
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4 votes
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180 views

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 ...
WhatNot's user avatar
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4 votes
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39 views

What to do with idol worship relics or impure objects

Once knowing the truth of the Torah, and the seven noahide laws,I disposed of many things. I want to know how exactly are you to dispose of these things.( Parashat Re'eh) gives a set of instructions ...
Oded's user avatar
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Questions regarding selling "mitzvah" items to Christians for use in their Church service

My understanding is that one is not aloud to intentionally sell anything to an oved avodah zarah ("idol worshipper") if he knows that he will use that item for his idol worshipping purpose. There are ...
DanF's user avatar
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4 votes
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187 views

The "Sign of the Horns" and 'Avodah Zarah

Is the "Sign of the Horns" a manifestation or an act of 'Avodah Zarah? What if someone uses the gesture as a pop culture reference (eg., heavy metal), or just jokingly - or even mockingly about ...
Seth J's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
99 views

Avodah Zarah and non-Jewish houseworkers

Does a Jewish homeowner need to be concerned that non-Jewish maids might perform idol worship with his possessions? Would this make any of the things in his house forbidden, or no? What precautions is ...
Libi Liberstein's user avatar
3 votes
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Would Torah consider kundalini awakening as Avoda Zara or is there a kosher equivilant that can be found in Jewish mysticism also?

BH Is kundalini awakening considered Avoda Zara or is there a kosher equivalent that can be found in Jewish mysticism also?
David 's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Medium Consultation For Gentiles

Are gentiles allowed to consult mediums or talk to spirits? The prohibition of witchcraft and the like is not explicitly mentioned in the Noahide laws as far as I'm aware, but I could see it going ...
Ben Avraham's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
120 views

Is calling someone a god Avodah zarah

In slang nowadays, it’s very common to call someone a god, such as “he’s such a god at this game” or “I’m such a god at baseball.” Is this considered Avodah zarah and/or assur, or is it permitted ...
Curious Yid's user avatar
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Midrash - Avraham Avinu and the idol worshipper

A came across a Dvar Torah here which states the following: The souls that they made in Charan (12:5) – Rav Ovadiah Yosef ztl. cited a midrash which described how far Avraham went in order to be ...
Dov's user avatar
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462 views

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 ...
Amos74's user avatar
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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 ...
GGG's user avatar
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126 views

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 ...
therxv's user avatar
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71 views

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 ...
seriousquestions's user avatar
3 votes
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79 views

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 ...
Micheal Afingindin's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
107 views

Which Divrei Minus are forbidden to read/hear today?

The Talmud in (Avodah Zara 16b–17a) brings that Rabbi Eliezer was upset that he had been accused by the Romans. His student, Rabbi Akiva suggested that perhaps he had heard a teaching of the minim and ...
michael's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
84 views

Do idolaters pray to God?

A long time ago I read that our Sources say, "It is forbidden to disturb an idolater praying to his idols because, although he does not know it, he is praying to God." Is this accurate and ...
Maurice Mizrahi's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
76 views

Egyptians not turning to their gods?

We read about a couple of "sorcery contests" between Moses and Egyptians, first turning the rods into serpents and then through the first plagues. Some well known facts: Egypt was a land of idol ...
Al Berko's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
559 views

What was the Talmudic and Rambam view on Hinduism (from idolatrous point)

India is mentioned in many ways in Talmud and clearly our sages had extensive trade with India, for example Kohen Gadol's garments and Ketoret ingredients see Mishnah and Talmud dealing-with-indian-...
Al Berko's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
275 views

Are "mudra" considered to be idolatry?

Mudra (pronounced "moo-druh") is a hand gesture used in some forms of meditation. Wikipedia says that mudra are from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and based on the information here, it sounds like ...
Moshe's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
90 views

Atonement and the Death Penalty

"Ordinary murderers are allowed to achieve atonement for their souls in their execution. Only especially vile murderers - such as a false witness whose lies are discovered after the person who was ...
TOJew's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
116 views

Is a Jew allowed to collect royalties on a song that glorifies Jesus?

You may not, offhand recognize the name Norman Greenbaum until you realize that he composed the One-Hit wonder song "Spirit in the Sky" first released in 1969, and played often on radio and other ...
DanF's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
107 views

Proof that calling upon deceased righteous people is polythiesm

My assumption is that in the Jewish faith, if someone were to call upon a righteous person who is not alive for help, that would be considered polytheism. Are there any explicit verses in the Torah ...
cool breeze's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
128 views

Praying with pictures or money on the table

It has been established that one may not pray facing a picture. May one pray by a table where pictures or money bills lie? How about engraved images like coins? If prohibited, how can the practice of ...
Adám's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
146 views

Tattoo of an image of idolatry

According to this exhaustive article on the subject of tattooing in Halachah, there is an important opinion with many ramifications that states that one is only liable for the biblical prohibition of ...
Seth J's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
123 views

Get an Idol out of the house

Say you buy a work of art, then you find out the painting has an image of an idol. You want to get it out of the house. Can you keep the frame if the frame is not connected to the image? The frame ...
Aigle's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
359 views

Buying products from store that sells avodah zarah?

What is the Halacha on buying products (not used for Avodah Zarah and not intended) from stores that sell things that can be used for Avodah Zarah? Assuming that buying such products is forbidden, ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
48 views

Praying on a reflective floor

It's forbidden to pray in front of a mirror, as it can appear like you're praying to your own reflection. What about standing on a mirrored floor (or some other reflective surface), where it can look ...
shmosel's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
64 views

Living body becomes an Idol and avodah zarah

If a living person is worshipped like praying to him and the living person encourages his own worship, and the living person himself becomes object of worship then will that person become a living ...
knowit's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
127 views

Idol worship temples by Hindus in Israel allowed?

I read the current State of Israel allows idol worship in Israel by Hindus from India. What is the justification for same by State of Israel? And are Jews allowed to help them?
knowit's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
62 views

Mirror in Shul?

Is a mirror allowed in shul if it is hanging on a wall that no one faces when they daven? It feels wrong to me, but I cannot find a source stating that it is explicitly forbidden since no one is ...
Koidesh 's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
184 views

Is the use of beads as a meditation tool acceptable if they aren't an item of idolatry?

Beads have a history of use in different religions. They also have a general use in human society as a whole detached from religion. One simple example of the nonreligious version is the Greek ...
Michael's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
60 views

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 ...
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
101 views

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 ...
אופוסום's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
120 views

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. ...
Yehuda's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
130 views

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 ...
ShipBuilding's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
99 views

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 ...
Michael's user avatar
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