Destroy idols and their accessories

The Literal Commandment

"You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. (Deuteronomy 12:2)

 

The literal commandment is that we should destroy idols and the items associated with them in "all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods". This commandment is specific to the Land of Israel.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah declares "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)

We are commanded to destroy idols and their accessories because leaving them intact would indicate we accept them or are willing to permit them in our cities and towns. Idolatry is pointless and only serves to turn us towards falsehood and away from the G-d who is the Truth.

If anyone would turn to idols and false gods then they are denying the truth of G-d's Word and Who He declares Himself to be.

These commandments prohibiting idolatry picture Messiah by pointing to idols and telling us He is not like them.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

There is no mention in Scripture of Messiah ever destroying idols or their accessories. It is possible that He was never in a place or situation that required Him to do so.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed as described: destroying idols, pillars, and Asherah poles. This is observed everywhere Jews are present but it is especially incumbent in the Land of Israel.

 

Other Notes

While we are able to fulfill this commandment today we should recognize that private property laws may require that we pay for any damage we cause and we could also be subject to criminal charges for destruction of property.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 53
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Deuteronomy 12:2
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 12
  • Verse 2
  • English You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.
  • Hebrew ב אַבֵּד תְּאַבְּדוּן אֶת-כָּל-הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ-שָׁם הַגּוֹיִם, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יֹרְשִׁים אֹתָם--אֶת-אֱלֹהֵיהֶם: עַל-הֶהָרִים הָרָמִים וְעַל-הַגְּבָעוֹת, וְתַחַת כָּל-עֵץ רַעֲנָן.
  • Greek 2 ἀπωλείᾳ ἀπολεῖτε πάντας τοὺς τόπους, ἐν οἷς ἐλάτρευσαν ἐκεῖ τοῖς θεοῖς αὐτῶν οὓς ὑμεῖς κληρονομεῖτε αὐτούς, ἐπὶ τῶν ὀρέων τῶν ὑψηλῶν καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν θινῶν καὶ ὑποκάτω δένδρου δασέος
  • Parashah 47- Re'eh
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 436
  • Sef. Hach. Command The precept to destroy an idol and all that serves it
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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