19

The straightforward answer to this question is that whereas the Christians are discussing what Hashem is made up of, the Kabbalists are discussing the ways in which He chose to reveal Himself. Just like we can understand that ה' ממית ומחיה is not reminiscent of trinity, since it is simply a reflection of what Hashem will do about different circumstances, ...


19

The reason this is confusing is that in Biblical Hebrew, the plural can be used to denote a position of authority. For example, in Exodus 22 the Bible refers to a property owner in the plural even though from context there is only one person. See specifically Exodus 22:10 שְׁבֻעַ֣ת יְהוָ֗ה תִּהְיֶה֙ בֵּ֣ין שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם אִם־לֹ֥א שָׁלַ֛ח יָד֖וֹ בִּמְלֶ֣אכֶת ...


18

In general, don't try to obtain your knowledge of Judaism from episodes of Arthur or from fiction stories. People make things up in the interest of the story. There are much better, and more accurate, sources for learning about Judaism. Yes, in general, it is considered not a good thing for a Jewish person to practice another religion. But in terms of the ...


14

According to Volume 3 Issue 8 of "Halachicly Speaking" (page 3) it is permissible for two reasons: No one bows down to snowmen A snowman does not last for very long.


14

The Rambam doesn't say that such a person is unable to repent, just that Hashem won't provide him an opportunity like He does for most people (אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה). In halacha 6 there, the Rambam clearly states that neither this nor anything else prevents (מונעין) teshuvah, just impedes it (מעכבין).


13

The Babylonian calendar wasn't adopted exactly as it was, but the names of the months were. This was recognized by the Sages in the Gemara, Yerushalmi Rosh Hashana 1:2. Why the Jews adopted these Babylonian names is a good question. In fact, it seems like the Jews did have their own ancient names for the months, such as 'Ziv' and 'Bul', which are mentioned ...


13

I asked my local Orthodox rabbi: the (Chareidi) morah d'asrah of a mid-sized Orthodox shul in a North American city of about three million people. He prefers that I not specify his name here. He told me: It's crucial not to let your character do anything in the game that smacks of idolatry, such as praying to the virtual "gods" in the game. Playing the game ...


13

Joshua 24:2 Thus said G-d, the L-rd of Israel: your ancestors lived on the other side of the [Euphrates] River from time immemorial; Terach, the father of Abraham and father of Nachor, and they worshipped foreign gods It's a fascinating question (discussed by the classical commentaries in Genesis) exactly when/where humanity took a wrong turn, especially ...


13

I would recomment R' Aryeh Kaplan's book, Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide. It is halachically kosher and quite comprehensive If you are interested in more theoretical sources, same author has Meditation and the Bible Meditation and Kabbalah


12

From the standpoint of Jewish tradition, which accepts that the Pentateuch was transmitted to Moses in its entirety around 3,300 years ago, it is clear that the Jewish religion was always monotheistic rather than monolatristic. See Deuteronomy (4:35): Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the LORD, He is God; there is none else beside Him. ...


12

The source for these laws is traditional from Chazal, and they explicitly list them in Sanhedrin 56a: תנו רבנן שבע מצות נצטוו בני נח דינין וברכת השם ע"ז גילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים וגזל ואבר מן החי Translation: Our Rabbis taught: seven precepts were the sons of Noah commanded: social laws; to refrain from blasphemy, idolatry; adultery; bloodshed; robbery; ...


12

I'm quite surprised that in my below research, I did not see any references to the Gemara in Avodah Zarah 45b-46a (edit: I saw it mentioned as an aside in one source), which not only implies that it is a mitzvah to make fun of Avodah Zarah, it even provides sources! Here it is, with the Davidson Edition translation: ורבנן ההוא לכנות לה שם דתניא ר"א ...


11

As far as I'm aware, just about every posek assumes that all nations are obligated to believe in God in some way or another. This is stated explicitly by Rav Shmuel ben Hofni Gaon (commentary to Beraishis 34:12), Rabbeinu Nissim Gaon (intro to Talmud), probably the opinion of the Sefer Hachinuch (commandment 417, and Minchas Chinuch there), Maharal (Gevuros ...


11

There is indeed at least unnamed but very early Rabbi who believed this prayer to be proof that there's no prohibition of praying to angels. See the responsum published by Simcha Emanuel in Hamayaan, Tishrei 5758. (This article attributes the same responsum to R. Eliezer Rokeach, though this is not necessarily correct). Also, before answering the question ...


10

There are two concerns here: chanufa, which means telling a sinner that you approve of their sinful action; and mesayea / lifnei iver, being involved in (or enabling) someone else's sin. For a rabbi to officiate at a wedding prohibited by halacha would be an issue of chanufa, as he's declaring okay that which the Torah says is not. For the caterer, florist,...


9

The Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote the following letter: By the Grace of G-d Teveth, 5738 MEMORANDUM It is well known that certain oriental movements, such as Transcendental Meditation (T.M.), Yoga, Guru, and the like, have attracted many Jewish followers, particularly among the young generation. In as much as these movements involve certain rites and rituals, ...


9

Please learn chapters 4 and 23 of Likutei Amarim Tanya for deeper understanding. However on the simple level it means that they are connected very strongly with each other -through a Jew learning Torah and doing Mitzvos (which are the Rotzon/will of Hashem Yisborach, which is how Torah is very connected to Him) the Jew becomes connected to Hashem. When a ...


9

The rabbis of the Talmud were certainly aware of Zoroastianism. You'll find references to fringe groups who believed in "שתי רשויות", "two domains"; effectively, one deity in charge of good things, and a different one in charge of bad things. That's why the mishna says that a chazan whose text is "Modim, Modim" should be immediately removed: if you lived in ...


9

It is a a baraita in Masekhet Shabbat 105b: המקרע בגדיו בחמתו והמשבר כליו בחמתו והמפזר מעותיו בחמתו יהא בעיניך כעובד ע"ז שכך אומנתו של יצה"ר היום אומר לו עשה כך ולמחר אומר לו עשה כך "If one tears his garment in his anger, breaks his utensils in his anger or scatters his money in his anger, he should be in your eyes as one who is performing ...


9

The gemara in Bava Batra 116a says Anyone who has a sick person in his home should go to a sage, and the sage will ask for mercy on the sick person’s behalf, as it is stated: “The wrath of a king is as messengers of death; but a wise man will pacify it” (Proverbs 16:14) You are not praying to a sage. You are asking the sage to ask Hashem for ...


9

Merely dancing next to a bonfire has nothing to do the ways of the Emorites, nor is it a form of fire worship, if the dancer(s) has/have no such intent. The question is based on a misunderstanding of the words of the Tosephta. המספק והמטפח והמרקד לשלהבת הרי זה מדרכי האמורי. "Dancing TO THE FLAME is following in the ways of the Emorites." The ...


9

R. Judah Halevi addresses this in Part IV of the Kuzari: The word has a plural form, because it was so used by gentile idolaters, who believed that every deity was invested with astral and other powers. Each of these was called Eloah; their united forces were therefore, called Elohim. (Hirschfeld translation p. 198) So it’s not that it was written by a ...


8

Need to look up exact source of the tshuvah, but paraphrasing the Ben Ish Hai: crosses in churches (and those found inbas-relief on antique "expensive" vessels, bowls etc) are to be considered as idols and used in idol-worship. He says however crosses worn on necklaces nowadays (in his day) are not considered such and are merely decorative. He also ...


8

I would assume that there's no issue, as these crosses were only made for a design (in the game) and would fall under the heter of Shulchan Aruch YD 141:1, where he permits any figure presumed to have been made for merely aesthetic purposes. Even though the crosses on the gravestones are meant to be religious symbols, these particular crosses aren't ...


8

The only question that I'm going to answer directly is number 2, since I heard directly from my Rebbi that it is 100% permissible (unfortunately, I can't quote it in his name since I didn't get his permission to use his name on this site, but I'll say that he's a well respected Musmach from Yeshivas Chafetz Chaim). He said that given the limited number of ...


8

Writing as a ben Noach, there is no definitive answer on what we do; only what we can't do(save setting up a court). Bnei Noach can do whatever they want as long as they don't transgress the seven. Brit Noach is a covenant of wild freedom, basically. For the details of the seven, I go by the Rambam, Hilchot Melachim Ch. 8-10. Since Brit Noach allows so much ...


8

Interestingly, I haven't seen too much discussion of Hinduism or Buddhism in halakhic sources, despite their prevalence and what I agree seems to be some halakhic ambiguity. (Eisenstein has an entry on Buddha in his book, where he writes that it's a 'new idea regarding Godhood', but doesn't elaborate). Regarding Hinduism, this Hirhurim blogpost notes that ...


8

As the Rambam codifies in Hilchos Avoda Zara 3:5, only four activities are "objectively" idolatry when done in honor of something other than G-d, and forbidden to do to any idol. 1) Prostration, 2) Animal Sacrifice, 3) Incense burning, 4) Libations. Outside of those four things, it is only idolatry if done as part of the normal service of the idol. So an ...


8

There are people who don't like saying "Christ", and therefore don't like saying "Christmas." If you don't have a strong secular education, you'd assume that "X" just means "fill-in-the-blank", so "X-mas" sounds like a more "kosher" way to refer to the holiday. (This is what my camp counselors did when I was a kid, and that was their explanation.) As Ze'ev ...


8

In the book "Shu"t Ach Tov Leyisrael" by Rabbi Efraim Kachlon, he has a siman discussing the potential Avodah Zara status of Islam, and he mentions this claim about the Rogatchover (pg. 134-135): "ואשר ע"י השנ'י שכתב לערער ולומר שיש לישמעאלים דין עוע"ז הוא במה שראיתי בספר הרוגצ'ובי (עמ' 157), וזתו"ד שם פעם נסבבה שיחה עם ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible