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Jewish World 6:18 AM 3/9/2014
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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Let’s try to wrap up our pre-Xmas warnings. Be sure to stay away from their parties, non-kosher wine, frivolity, and kissing Suzy under the mistletoe.
If there’s a Xmas party at the office, tell them you have a stomach ache. On Xmas day, keep as far away from their festivities as possible. Since Christians are considered idolaters, on their holiday, it’s best not to have any business with them at all (Rambam, Laws of Idol Worship, Ch.9, 1-4).
The prohibition against idol worship tops the list of the Ten Commandments. No one is allowed to make or worship a graven image. As the Rambam explains, “The essential principle concerning idolatry is that people are not to worship anything created – neither angel, planet, star, the elements or something derived from them.”
This includes Buddhas, Hindu monkey gods, totem poles, statues of Mary and Jeezeus, and the like. I would post a few photos in illustration, but it is even forbidden to gaze upon the picture of an idolatrous figure, as it says, “Turn not after their idols” (Vayikra, 19:4. See Rambam, 2:2, loc. Cited).
In Rabbi Kook’s writings on Christianity, he explains that it began as a break-away sect of Judaism which grew in influence and ultimately led the world astray with its doctrines. He categorizes it as idol worship, and says that its founder brought the majority of the world to err by serving a god other than the Almighty. By abandoning the mitzvot, Christianity enshrouded the world in a seemingly legitimate off shoot of idol worship. While imitating many of Judaism’s values and beliefs, Christianity actually led the world away from the true service of G-d.
Referring to Christianity’s renegade founder, the Rambam writes: “Can there be a greater stumbling block than this one? All of the Prophets spoke of the Messiah as the redeemer of Israel, and its savior, who would gather the dispersed and strengthen their observance of the commandments, while this one caused the annihilation of Israel by the sword, and caused its remnants to be scattered and scorned. He caused the Torah to be altered, and brought the majority of the world to err, and to serve a god other than the L-rd….” (Laws of Kings and Their Wars, Uncensored version, Mosad HaRav Kook edition, Ch11).
This is what we affirm several times a day in the “Aleynu” prayer. The following verse is deleted in many prayer books used in the Diaspora, but here in Israel, we say about the nations, “They bow down to vanity and emptiness, and pray to a god that cannot save.”
The “Aleynu” prayer expresses our heartfelt wish that idol worship be uprooted from the earth, and that the world come to understand that G-d alone is the One and Only King, “We hope, therefore, L-rd our G-d, soon to behold Your majestic glory, when the abominations will be removed from the earth, and the false gods exterminated; when the world will be perfected under the reign of the Almighty, and all mankind will call upon Your Name, and the wicked of the earth will be turned to You. My all the inhabitants of the world realize and know that to You every knee must bend and every tongue vow allegiance….”
Amen. [In the spirit of universal brotherhood, talkbacks which do not attack or berate other talkbackers will be posted, but remember, Big Brother is watching!]