22

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 ...


22

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 ...


20

There is no sufficient evidence to prove this concept in one direction or another, and there never will be. I will try explain why. I am not sure where to begin, so I will just do an info dump of points which hopefully will be sufficient, because this is a complicated topic. Monolatrism is a made up word used to try to discredit Judaism and Christianity. ...


20

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 ...


17

One: the Rema does not rule that goyim are permitted shituf, but merely rules that for them swearing in the the name of a shituf is not an act of avodah zarah (as only Jews are prohibitted from swearing in anything but HaShem's name). As explained in the Nodah Beyahudah, Yoreh Deah 148: "The intention of the Tosefos and the Rama is that combining the Name of ...


17

Well, here's what comes to mind. Bowing is not reserved for G-d. There are many cases in the Bible when prominent Jews bowed to kings such as the prophet Natan bowing to David (Melachim 1:1:23) and Yosef’s brothers bowing to Yosef (Breishit 42:6). Even Avraham (Breishit 18:2) bowed to strangers whom he suspected of being idolaters (Rashi to verse 4). ...


17

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 ...


16

Let's take a step back: the Hebrew calendar uses lunar months of either 29 or 30 days (for 354 days altogether). Now the Bible says that Passover should be in the spring, and if you keep having years of 354 days you'll keep sliding backwards until Passover won't be in the spring anymore, so every so often they'd add a leap month. Sure, other peoples may have ...


15

In the original version of the Rambam in Sefer Qedusha, Hilkhot Maakhalot Asurot 11:7 (compare the censored version and the uncensored version) he rules that xian are idol worshipers.


15

The Shulchan Aruch (YD 157:1) discusses the issue of when one must (or may) martyr himself, know in Hebrew as קידוש השם - The [Ultimate] Sanctification of God's Name. If someone threatens your life if you won't break some rule: If you are alone (or in the presence of less than ten adult Jews): If he is doing so for his own personal benefit: If it is one ...


14

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

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.


13

In the Torah we see the word Elokim used for both Hashem and other nations Gods (Elohim Acheirim). That proves that a word can have two meanings, and you still may use it. In addition the name Gad does not sound like God at all.


13

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 ...


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

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'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 אומר ...


11

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 ...


11

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; ...


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

Throughout the Bible, many Jews keep veering into idolatry, such as the examples seen in Yaakov's answer. (Fascinatingly the whole idolatry thing comes to a screeching halt right around the Jews' return from Babylon to Israel around 2500 years ago. The Talmud says there was some "itch" that idol-worship seemed to "scratch" that dissipated then.) But the "...


10

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 ...


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 ...


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

I once heard Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky describing the life of a certain Rav in a little shtetel many years ago. The people of the village were unlearned, and the Rav, who was a big Talmid Chacham, had no one with whom to converse in Torah learning. What did he do? He would put his hat on the banister next to the Aron Hakodesh, and speak as if there was an ...


9

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. ...


9

Rema, Orach Chaim 296:1: גם שופכים מן הכוס לאחר הבדלה ומכבין בו הנר ורוחצים בו עיניו משום חבוב מצוה "We also pour out [some of the wine] from the cup after havdalah, and extinguish the candle with it, and wash our eyes with it as an expression of love for the mitzvah." An earlier source is Tur, Orach Chaim 299, citing R. Amram Gaon. So it goes back ...


9

It may be that Rambam would distinguish between whether the magician actually did some kind of action or not. Suppose, for example, you have someone who claims that he will use magic to harvest a field of cucumbers (the example given in the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 67a). There are, then, three possibilities: He performs some action (waving a wand, saying some ...


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