© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-15/The List of Idols in the Ten Commandments
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1: Denying Moses’ First Commandment is IDOLATRY
Let’s repeat: Doing the opposite of what the First of Moses’ Ten Commandments says, is a sort of IDOLATRY. Thus, if the Commandment says:
2. “YHVH your ELoKiM (Attributes in Oneness
3. “Who took you out of Egypt Land…” (Kingship)
1. Denying His SELF, or His Existence is a sort of IDOLATRY. The rabbis referred to it as “uprooting the tree.”
2. Denying His Attributes’ or their Oneness is a sort of IDOLATRY. This includes Separating the Attributes, worshipping one over the other, which is called “separating the glued ones.” Mispronouncing them or distorting them is a sort of IDOLATRY.
3. Rejecting His Kingship is rebellion and a sort of IDOLATRY.
Let’s move to the Second Commandment, which lists all possible idols in the world!
2: The LIST OF IDOLS in Moses’ Second Commandment
(Moses’ Second of the Ten Commandments)
1. “Thou shall not have for yourself
2. “Other ELoKiMs
3. “Over my face
4. “Thou shall not make for yourself any image or statues
5. “Of anything in the Heavens above and in the earth below….
6. “Thou shall not bow to them
7. “Nor serve them…”
Note that the idols are listed immediately after KINGSHIP (line 3 in the First Commandment) since IDOLATRY is a battle of KINGSHIPS. We either enthrone YHVH ELoKiM on us, or enthrone the idols on us. Moses leaves no neutral option of worshipping no one. Since Man is born to withstand the IDOLATRY trial, Man would have to choose!
Let’s discuss the idols on the list, one by one.
1: “You shall not have for yourself…”
Many commentaries see this line as referring to ‘’anything we adore instead of our true CREATOR.” This can be drugs, alcohol, a political party, a philosophy, art, science, etc. Worshipping such an idol means surrendering your life to it, disregarding any moral issue. Moses says here that if a person does not surrender his life to G-d, he would fall a prey to such “social idols.”
2: ”Other ELoHiMS…”
This prohibition refers to worshipping entities considered powerful, but “Side by Side” with ELKM. These idols may be perceived as ELKM’s PARTNERS (Besides YHVH.) In fact, any entity with which ELKM consulted before making Adam, can be perceived as “His equal Partner.” In that sense, the creatures made in the Six Days may be perceived as the CREATOR’S Partners. The Sun and the Moon have been perceived as ELKM’s Partners.
In fact, technically speaking, Noahides are not ‘punished’ for believing in G-d’s Partners. This can be explained by the fact that the nations were so deeply sank into IDOLATRY in Moses’ time that Monotheism was too far fetch for them. Needless to say, Noahide are EXPECTED to believe in YHVH ELKM Oneness.
3: “Over My Face…”
This line prohibits the worshipping of entities considered inferior to ELKM, while having a power of their own. To this category belong concept such as God’s mother, God’s son, etc. These entities ‘cover ELKM’s face” since they sit ‘in front of Him,’ between Him and us.
4: “Any image of…”
Once you’ve worship any item in Nature, you’d be tempted to carve out a statue or an image of it, and worship it too.
5: “Of anything…”
This pertains to a statue of any imaginary power, like Demons, Aliens, and so on.
6: “You shall not bow…”
This line prohibits the worshipping the idols in the same way its followers express their faith!
7: “Nor serve them…”
This line prohibits worshipping idols in the way we normally worship HaSheM. Like chanting Psalms to an idol.
Each of these items is a headline, that requires detailed discussion, much beyond our classes.
Note that most idolaters are erroneous sinners. Their souls seek the true CREAATOR, only that the person lacks the true knowledge, the Torah, Bible. The Hebrew word for sin, Chet, means “missing the target.” It is unintentional error. We should not look down at such sinners, we should rather teach them the right way.
One who worships idol while knowing the true CREATRO, is making an avon, a graver sin.
One who worships idols in rebellion to G-d, is a poshea, evil, who is beyond repentance.
3: An Example: Enosh, the father of idolatry
The RaMBaM (Maimonides) brings Enosh as an example of one whose teaching brought humanity to slide down the entire two Commandments!
As we’ll learn, Enosh was the illustrious grandson of Adam, a charismatic leader of his time. On Enosh it is said that “it was then that they began calling the name of YHVH.” The Hebrew word for ‘began,’ huchal, also means “profaned.” Hence Enosh profaned YHVH name by praying to Her Only. In his public, fiery preaching he proclaimed that the Kingdom of Mercy, of YHVH, is already here! By this, he neglected and offended ELKM.
In other words: Enosh violated line 2 of Moses’ First Commandment, that says ‘YHVH ELKM is One.’ He separated the Attributes, the” glued ones.”
Since YHVH was coming, Enosh taught his disciples to address their prayers to Her, inside the leaves, the rocks, the animals. They thought that he was addressing the leaves and rocks themselves. He also told his disciples to address their petitions in prayers to the King’s councilors, or Partners, like the Sun, Moon, and other natural forces.
After his passing away, Enosh’s disciples sled down to worship natural forces, then they made statues and images. This way they violated the entire two IDOLATRY Commandments of Moses.
Thus Moses’ Commandments are not random. They describe a predicted path and downfall along the IDOLATRY TRAPS.