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30.7.14



 Reform Judaism tends to take a fairly loose idea of prohibitions of the Torah.
My own parents were Reform Jews and there is a lot of good there and I saw a lot of holiness and light in my home. [Maybe I should qualify that. My parents went to a reform shul but I think their ideas were a lot close to Torah Judaism. In our home there was a tremendous respect for Torah Judaism. It was just between being a World War Two captain fighting  in the USAF and working for the Space program and Star War at TRW my Dad did not have a lot of time ]



However my parents were born before 1960's during times in America when religious issues were just not that interesting. The most pressing issues in the USA for Jews was being Loyal to Torah and also doing honest work to raise good families. For American Jews there was little doubt that the USA represented the most fair and just society possible. But later on times have show that there are problems inherent in the American system (by which I am fairly alarmed) and religious issues are not possible to ignore, and it is likely that  we all need to observe the laws of the Torah a lot more than Reform Judaism dictates, but also to be careful not to fall into the trap of religious fanaticism.

At any rate one issue I think deserves a lot more attention than it gets is that of idolatry. Reform does not concern itself with this because they think religious tolerance is an ideal of the Torah. That is simply not true.
I should mention that Chanukah was not a holiday of religious tolerance but rather it was a celebration of the successful overturn of an idol.


I think cult the Gra put into excommunication ignore the subject because they might be feeling that they are uncomfortably close to violating the prohibition themselves with their approach their teachers.


I think Christians do not want to deal with the subject from the Talmudic point of view for several reasons. One is that there is the issue of the mediator which is problematic to them. Also they clearly feel that they are not allowed to learn Talmud. It comes at least in the minds of Protestants under the list of prohibited books. That means they don't have much in the way of source information to decide what is considered idolatry. So they tend to claim that things like baseball cards or addictions are idolatry.

Hindu people do not see idolatry as a problem in the first place. In fact I get the impression that they think it is a good thing. See the Sutras for some examples.

Idolatry is the central issue of the Torah. So it is in everyone’s interest to get an idea of what is and what it is not.
Now I should admit that am just beginning to look into this subject myself. But I want to say that I think I have hit a gold mine. It is page 60b and 61a in the Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin.

what is great is that you get good idea of what idolatry is about without it being mixed up with side issues.


 While if you ask almost anyone on the street nowadays they will have their own pet peeves about what idolatry involves.  Almost anything someone does not like will end up being called an idol.


  But before I go, I just want to say that I think any being besides the One First Cause that is worshiped in order to get closer to that being or to receive some good from that being would be considered an idol. Worship in this case means any one of four types of service, sacrifice, burning incense, bowing down, pouring libations, or service which is unique to that idol. And I think this whole subject has to do with numinous reality. Serving a customer in a restaurant would not be considered idolatry.


Now I admit that some things people like to call idolatry today might in fact be so. But before we go around making accusations, we need first to get a good grasp of what the actual definition of the thing is.