Questions tagged [avodah-zarah]

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

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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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, ...
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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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What happened to the prophets of Asherah in 1 Melachim 18?

Shalom. In 1 Melachim 18:19, Eliyahu gives Achab an order to summon ‘All Israel... together with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Ba’al and the four hundred prophets of Asherah’. However, when ...
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Watching a virtual church service

The prohibition I have read about regarding churches centers around going "into" a church (see Q and A's here, for example). Is the underlying prohibition about being present in the church, ...
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Idol hidden in the Kaaba?

Which rabbi(s) wrote that there were idols hidden inside the Kaaba (Muslim direction of prayer), thus making Islam Avodah Zarah? (Whether the rabbi(s) were mistaken or not is besides the point) I ...
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Was the Jewish month of Tammuz named after the pagan god Tammuz of the Babylonian? [duplicate]

According to Wikipedia: "The name of the month was adopted from the Assyrian and Babylonian month Araḫ Dumuzu, named in honour of the Mesopotamian deity Dumuzid" If so what's the implication ...
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Is owning crystals idol worship?

Some people own certain “energy crystals” for specific “energies” they want, such as a motivation or self-love crystal. Is owning one of these considered avoda zara, witchcraft, etc.?
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Does asking a righteous deceased and/or an “angel” to intercede with HaShem in favor of a living person violate the Noahide Law or not?

Among Catholics and Orthodox Christians, the tradition of asking Mary (the mother of Jesus), "angels" and saints to intercede with HaShem in favor of one or more living people is very ...
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Does Shemot 23:13 literally mean Marvel & DC Comics are forbidden?

Does Shemot 23:13 literally mean Marvel & DC Comics are forbidden? "and the name of the gods of others you shall not mention; it shall not be heard through your mouth." ( וְשֵׁ֨ם ...
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English translation of She'eilas Yaavetz 1:41 about shituf for Gentiles

I would need to read an English translation of the passage in She'eilas Yaavetz 1:41 where Rav Emden analyzes the different cases of shituf in relation to the Gentiles. Could please someone get it ...
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Does traditional Judaism forbid the ownership or creation of animal statues/figurines? If not, why does this not count as idolatry? [duplicate]

"You shall not make yourself a carved image nor any likeness of that which is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the water beneath the earth" Would this merely forbid creating ...
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Is it halachically problematic to call something “Karma”? [closed]

Is the idea behind karma avodah zarah amd therefore prohibited to be used?
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Is Brahmoism Avodah Zarah?

Sometime during the eighteenth century, Rammohun Roy, an educated revenue officer from West Bengal who was influenced by Christianity of the East India Company, founded the "anusthanic" ...
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Are Sikhs considered idolatry [duplicate]

According to Sikhism, Guru Nanak was the first Sikh prophet. He disappeared in a river for three days and returned to spread a message. After his death Sikhs built The Golden Temple at Amritsar, ...
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Roman gods in the talmud

I'm currently writing an essay on Roman gods which are mentioned in the Talmud but I'm having a tricky time finding them, does anyone know any sources? EDIT Avoda Zora 44b Aphrodite: מתני׳ שאל ...
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Is it possible to be a Noahide and a Christian at the same time?

Rambam states that for gentiles who wish to have a place in the world to come, they don't need to convert to Judaism. All they need to do is keep the 7 laws of Noah because they were mandated by ...
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Did the Ritva state that Islam is idolatry? [duplicate]

Is it the case that Ritva stated that Islam is idolatry? I have heard that while the RAMBAM viewed Islam as not idolatry, there have been many rabbis throughout the generations, before and some after, ...
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When it comes to the handling of (non-Mevushal) Kosher wine, what defines “handling” by a non-observant Jew in the prohibition? [closed]

We are warned that when handling a non-Mevushal Kosher wine that it must only be handled by shabbat observant Jews. My question relates to the halachic definition of "handling" and what that ...
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The name of Hashem in avodah zarah [duplicate]

I watched a video on YouTube of a gentile burning his Christian books, now that he has discovered the truth. I would love to do the same,but have a serious doubt. These books also have the name of ...
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Is it ok to steal to prevent avodah zarah

There is a law in the Gemara and brought in the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch. From Rambam end of Chapter 1 of Mishneh Torah Hilchos Rotzeach: 14 Whenever a person can save another person's life, but he ...
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Is it permitted to have zodiac symbols in a synagogue?

Many shuls in Eastern Europe have painted zodiac symbols (albeit in a rather symbolic manner) on the walls or ceiling. However, it is stated directly in the Mishneh Torah that one may not draw the ...
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Are there any rabbinical opinions that understand Avodah Zara to be more as it translates(foreign service), rather than just “idol worship”

Are there any rabbinical opinions that understand Avodah Zara to be more as it translates(foreign service), rather than just "idol worship". i.e. Does Avodah Zara really just refer to ...
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Does the fact that “Elohim” is plural indicate that parts of the Tanakh hearken from a pre-Jewish polytheistic culture?

(disclaimer, I am a gentile and don't know how to type in square script) My question applies to the whole Tanakh, but I'm specifically curious about Genesis. Translating strictly literally (ie, ...
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Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices?

Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices? The Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 2:3) mentions a concept called עורות לבובין which Maimonides and other commentators ...
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Would it be forbidden to own images of angels?

Okay, I'll try be a little bit more specific. Say someone was in possession of an angelic figure(s), they did not create the figure, they ascribe no power to the figure, and they certainly don't ...
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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. ...
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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]

Like Judaism, Unitarians believe in one G-d. They stress the oneness and unity of G-d. A famous Unitarian Christian is, for example, Sir Isaac Newton.[1] This Christian sect emerged in Poland during ...
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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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