Dear Rabbi Ben-Chaim,
Thank you, and Mesora, for such inspiring and informative articles in the JewishTimes.
Having come out of the idolatry of Christianity, I read with interest your article on “Idols” in the Jewish Times. The question by Zach in last week’s July 8th, 2005 issue, regarding the Hindu concept of idols, reminded me of another reason why these “symbols” are forbidden, and are considered idolatry: Hashem forbade the making of images. The idea that one can make a “symbol” of a deity is a violation of the prohibition against images. People claim they do not worship these symbols and images, they only worship the (false) deity represented by them. Yet the idea that the Creator, Who is invisible and not corporeal, and can be represented in a created form…is idolatry.
Idolatrous images become entrenched in the mind and imagination, contaminating the heart. What we view with our eyes, and absorb into our soul, becomes part of our thinking process. Therefore, idolatrous images and symbols are far more dangerous than many people realize. Making excuses for idolatry, among Jews or gentiles, is a grave mistake.