Do not inquire into idolatry

The Literal Commandment

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:4)

 

The literal commandment is not to turn to (seek after or rely upon) idols.

 

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)

When we are commanded not to inquire into idolatry it is because such a pursuit is fruitless and only serves to turn us away from the only true way to know G-d.

Idols are nothing. Scripture describes idols in this way:

Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good." (Jeremiah 10:2-5)

 

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

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not turning to idolatry.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally fulfilled by not thinking or speaking about idols or even looking at them when a person is by themselves. Any person with a measure of imagination can imagine "What if this idol really is a symbol of G-d?" They might be tempted to pray or worship... just one time... just in case.

If we consider what idolaters say to be true about their idols for too long, we might also potentially be led astray. As a consequence, it is also traditionally forbidden to engage in conversation about idols with idolaters.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today by not turning to idols, whether wood, iron, stone, or any material. Any object that is deemed to be a "god" is an idol and, as the apostle Paul exhorts us, we should flee from such things (1 Corinthians 10:14).

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 24
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Leviticus 19:4
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 19
  • Verse 4
  • English Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.
  • Hebrew ד אַל-תִּפְנוּ, אֶל-הָאֱלִילִם, וֵאלֹהֵי מַסֵּכָה, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם: אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.
  • Greek 4 οὐκ ἐπακολουθήσετε εἰδώλοις καὶ θεοὺς χωνευτοὺς οὐ ποιήσετε ὑμῖν· ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν. --
  • Parashah 30- Kedoshim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 213
  • Sef. Hach. Command Not to turn astray after idol-worship in thought or word
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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