Thursday, July 27, 2006

Idol worship: what qualifies

Moslems do believe in the right G-d (as opposed to Christians who believe in a trinity god who begets children), but have the wrong prophet and wrong teachings. But I'll give you a way out of your problem, even if you want to be a Moslem: In Islam there are no objective qualifications that prove a given person is a real prophet. In the Torah there is. So if someone gets up out of nowhere, like Mohammed did, and claims to be a prophet, there is no law in Islam that says you have to believe him, and there are no objective criteria that would enable you to test whether what he is saying is true. Therefore, according to Islamic law, there would be no obligation to believe in Mohammed’s word that he is a prophet.

I know that sounds weird, but that's Islam's problem, not mine. When you make up a religion on your own, as opposed to it coming from G-d, like Mohammed did, you've got to leave margin for human error.

Whatever distortions the Moslems inserted into the Torah to make it compatible with the teachings of mohammed (such as Akeidas Yishmael c"v, NOT Akeidas Yitzchok!) they did not change the basic concept of G-d. The Christians did, creating a trinity, which is a quantification of G-d or His aspects, which is idolatry. G-d has no "aspects" and cannot be quantified of fit into a trinity or a quadrinity in any way. G-d is totally Simple, and no aspect of being composite is present in Him. That includes "aspects." The believe G-d is measurable in this way, or His aspects are, is to attribute physicality to G-d, since quantification necessarily demands finiteness and physicality, and that is idolatry.

But when the Moslems created their religion they did not do violence to the concept of
G-d's Oneness.

The Moslems created a newfangled religion based on a fabricated prophet who never met any of the requirements to demand that he be considered a prophet, except for his sharp sword.

But as far as Hashem Himself, that they did not tamper with.

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Christianity is avoda zara because they worship a god who impregnates women, and other characteristics such as a trinity that constitutes idolatry as opposed to worshipping the real G-d.

The Rambam (Machalos Asuros 11) writes that the Christians are plain idol worshippers.

The Noda B'Yehuda writes (YD 148) that it is a common mistake to think that Goyim are not commanded against schituf. The reality is they are. The error, he says, comes from a Rama that says you are allowed to cause a non-Jew to swear to his god, since he is not swearing to an idol but just adding his idol to Hashem, meaning schituf.

But the NB"Y points out that all this means is that the Goy does NOT declare the idol to be a deity in the oath, but the belief itself that a deity shares power with G-d is really idolatry. Only the oath is permitted, since it does not express his real belief.

Other poskim concur with the Noda Beyehuda.

And although there are some poskim who do hold that Goyim are not commanded against schituf, but it doesn’t make a difference anyway, because that only means that the Goyim are not sinning for being idol worshippers, which is between them and Hashem, but as far as we are concerned, we are commanded against schituf, and that makes them idol worshippers to us (Responsa Binyan Tzion I:63).

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Sunday is not a holiday when you are forbidden to do business with idol worshipers {as they'll dedicate their earnings to their idol, and it will be partially your fault}. They used to offer sacrifices to their gods on such holidays.

When referring to the Creator of the world, you write G-d. When referring to anything else, it is god.

The Christians themselves don't really know which one they mean. Here's a story:

When Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZTL came to America, he refused to bring US currency into the bathroom, since it says "In God We Trust"!

When a Talmid of R. Elchonon, R. Tuvia Goldstein shlita, reported this to Rav Moshe Feinstein ZTL, R. Moshe disagreed. "God to them means Yoshka. When they refer to Hashem they use the word 'Lord'", he said.

So Rav Tuvia went to a priest and asked him who is right - R. Elchonon or R. Moshe - what does "god" mean to them and what does "lord" mean?

The priest had no idea. He said they don’t really think that much into it.

Ooookay. But as far as I understand, it would seem Rav Elchonon was correct here. They refer to Yoshka as the "son of G-d" - implying that G-d means the Creator, and they have "The Lord's Prayer", Lord in that context referring to Yoshka.

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You are allowed to do business with idol worshipers.

1) We may not do business with them 3 days before their holidays since they will use our business to thank their idols - which does not apply nowadays since they don't have such holidays today.

2) You cannot do business with them that will bring them to swear in the name of their idol. The Rama, however, permits this, and we follow him.

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Any act of Avodah Zarah that a Jew gets Misah for, a Goy gets Misah for as well. However, even for "minor" Avodah Zarah - meaning, that Jews would not be chayav misah for, such as planting an Asheira, they are still prohibited to do even though they do not get Misah.
Being a "light" to the Nations doesn’t mean were responsible for what they do. It means to set an example. If they choose to emulate us, that’s their choice. If they decide to worship a god that impregnated married women and has a "family" despite what we have shown them, that's also their choice.

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You can't walk 4 Amos (about 2.4 meters) within the entrance of a church "tikrav el pesach beisah", and there are numerous reasons for it, including but not limited to that it is a show of respect for Hashem that we refuse to go near the meeting places of His enemies.
Also, there is a prohibition of increasing your Yetzer Horah even if you believe you are strong enough to resist. You never know.

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