24

The Talmud, in discussing whether the practice of refraining from engaging in business with worshipers of Avoda Zara (lest they offer thanks to their Avoda Zara) three days prior to (and according to R Yishmael also: following) their holidays (cf. Mishna AZ 1:1) includes the day of the holiday itself in the count of three days, states (AZ 6a and 7b): אמר ...


23

The Rambam in his אגרת השמד says outward acceptance of Islam is not ייהרג ואל יעבור. On the other hand, the Radvaz quotes the Ritva as saying that this is ייהרג ואל יעבור. According to the Rambam, outward acceptance of Islam is not ייהרג ואל יעבור because Islam is not עבודה זרה, and even though it is heretical because it denies the Torah, one does not have ...


21

Rav Moshe Feinstein, in a t'shuva about allowing children to say a generic prayer in public school (Orach Chayim II #24), refers to the Ramba"m's statement in Mishne Torah that Adam Harishon was given 6 commandments, including belief in God. No'ach and his descendants later got one more, adding up to 7. They both conclude that not only the negative aspect of ...


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 ...


17

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 ...


15

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, ...


14

Given the Rambam's statement: Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of 'the pious among the gentiles' and will merit a share in the world to come. This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and ...


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

No more so than the belief that we are all G-d's children. Ezra is, however, compared to Moses (Sanhedrin, bottom of 21b; See also Yad Rama ad loc Sanhedrin 36a and Gittin 59a (comparing Ezra to Moses as a national leader and the greatest Torah scholar of his generation).


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

No, one may not pray in front of a mirror. The Radbaz in a responsum (4:107) gives both of the reasons you mention as explanations. From DailyHalacha.com The question surrounding the permissibility of praying facing such a window arises from a discussion of the Radbaz (Rabbi David Ben Zimra, Egypt, 1480-1574) regarding praying in front of a mirror. It is ...


12

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 ...


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

There is a prohibition against mentioning the name of a foreign deity. (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 147). However, according to the sources cited there by the Gra (YD 147:2), the prohibition only applies if the name was given for the purpose of idolatry. If the name is an ordinary name which has no inherent implication of divinity and which was not given ...


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

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 ...


10

Per Torah.org Contemporary poskim debate whether taking a photograph of the sun or the moon is similar to drawing a flat image. Several rule stringently on this issue. There is an Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 5 - 9:6 that discusses this, however I am not able to find it online. Minchas Yitzchok 10:72 seems to prohibit it, however says it may be permitted ...


10

It is forbidden. I have included relevant snippets, but it's best if you read the whole thing. Rambam Avodah Kochavim Chapter 2 Halacha 3 The worship of false gods is not the only subject to which we are forbidden to pay attention; rather, we are warned not to consider any thought which will cause us to uproot one of the fundamentals of the Torah. We should ...


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

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 ...


9

The Rambam ruled in Hilkhos A.Z. 3:18 אסור לצור דמות חמה ולבנה כוכבים ומזלות ומלאכים, שנאמר "לא תעשון, איתי" (שמות כ,יט)--לא תעשון כדמות שמשין המשמשין לפניי במרום, ואפילו על הלוח. it is forbidden to fashion the likeness of the sun, the moon, the stars, the constellations, or the angels, as it is said (Ex. 20:19): "Do not make with Me [gods of ...


9

According to Exodus 32: 19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount. 20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, ...


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

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 ...


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