Copy Right 2022
Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
Adam is Born into the IDOLATRY Challenge
In our quest to study the IDOLATRY Commandment through the Book of Genesis,
let’s ask: Where does the Commandment appear the first time in the Book?
The classical answer is: In the verse describing the creation of Adam,
where the CREATOR, G-d, says in plural:
“Let’s make an Adam in Our Form and Our Image.” (1: 26)
On which Rashi says: He opened the door for idolaters to think
that there are more then One CREATOR.
Hence, we have the simplest, most basic definition of IDOLATRY –
believing that the CREATOR ‘consists’ of more than One entity,
such as family members- a wife, a son, etc.
For instance: Augustus Cezar was revered as “The Son of G-d,”
so was Alexander the Great, Caligula and Pharaoh.
A wider definition of erroneous IDOLATRY, coming out of the verse is
the belief that the CREATOR, G-d, had “partners” in creating Adam,
as well as creating the world.
Who are those “partners?” – whoever G-d spoke with, in plural, while making Adam.
Each of these entities – and there is a list of them, as we’ll learn.
Another point that comes out of that verse is the notion
that Adam is made to face the IDOLATRY challenge.
After all, the same words that announce the making of Adam,
are the same that open the door for IDOLATRY to exist!
Hence IOLATRY is not just another Commandment, like any other.
It is, rather, the only one that we are specifically made to face!
As such, it encompasses our entire life,
and it is the base of our moral struggle.
What about the other Commandments of Noah?
As we’ve just said, IDOLATRY is the only Commandment mentioned in Genesis Chapter One.
The others- ADULTERY, BLOODSHED, THEFT, INJUSTRICE and BLASPHEMY
were given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, (as we’ll learn in due course)
namely in Chapters 2-4. They are therefore called “Adam’s Commandmewnts.
Indeed, IDOLATRY underlies all the other Commandments.
Thus, whoever transgresses ADULTERY, or BLOODSHED, etc.,
he has also violated G-d’s Command, which is IDOLATRY.
Thus, committing ADULTERY or BLOODSHED or THEFT or INJUSTICE
is not only breaching the “social order” or “the social contract” between us
but also a sheer rebellion against our CREATOR, ELHM.
How is Adam made to face the IDOLATRY challenge?
to answer that let’s ask what constitutes an idol?
Obviously, an idol is anything we adore very much,
love so much, are enchanted with very much,
something we would easily surrender our life to.
Hence Adam is made to be fascinated,
to fall in love with, to adore, fear, to surrender his life, to be enchanted,
so much, that he may err and worship that entity
instead of the True CREATOR.
Thus, IDOLATRY is a battle of fascinations and attraction.
We are either attracted to G-d, or to the idols,
No option of being attracted to no one.
You may say that Adam is born with free imagination,
and he may love his idols or fear them.
The more primitive Adam is, the more ignorant he is,
the more he would fear imaginary forces that controls the world.
Hence, an idol is something we may exceedingly love, or exceedingly fear.
We better should LOVE and FEAR only the true G-d.
It comes out that
to comply with the IDOLATRY Commandment,
Adam – we – should be aware of the idols, identity them,
so that we would OVERCOME THEIR ATTRACTION and avoid worshipping them.
But that is not enough. It is not enough to stay away from the idols.
It is as important, if not more important,
to identify G-d, know who He is, and worship only Him.
Is there a neutral stage, where Man worships no one?
According to Moses, that possibility does not exist.
Adam is made to face the IDOLATRY challenge,
therefore he is constantly called upon to make the choice.
He is either worshipping G-d,
or falling a pray to the idols.
You see that in the Ten Commandments of Sinai,
The first Commandment, at the top of the Tablet, introduces the True G-d, saying
‘I Am the Lord your G-d who took you out of Egypt Land,”
The Second Commandment introduces the idols,saying:
“Thou shall have no other G-d besides me,” etc.
Hence, to comply with the IDOLATRY Commandment
we need to identify G-d and worship Him,
and identify the false gods and avoid worshipping them.
Having identified the IDOLATRY Commandment,
we may ask:
Why did G-d, the CREATOR, made Adam in that fashion,
to withstand IDOLATRY?
Couldn’t He – “the good G-d” – better make us pure as angels,
equipped with full faith in G-d from birth? Why the challenge, the trial?
And why does He place us in a trial at all?
On that, we’ll learn next class