Thread Rating:
  • 2 Vote(s) - 4 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Definition of an idol
Thank you for this question:
> Might perceiving of joy, happiness, pleasure etc. be considered as idol following?

It is necessary to categorize the different levels in which a person can be involved in idolatry, and what the consequences are.

1) Within the 7 Noahide Commandments, the transgression that can be a capital sin is to physically do some action that is a way of worshiping or serving an entity that is not the One G-d Himself. and the person deifies that entity (by imagining or assigning it to have a god-like power, or a god-like standing), whether it is physical or spiritual, and whether it is something that is real or imagined. That is the sin of "serving an idol."

2) It may be that in his thoughts and beliefs, a person will deify some entity that is not G-d Himself, and imagine or assign it to have a god-like power or a god-like standing. but he does not do anything to worship or serve that entity. Then it remains at the level of an idolatrous belief. Even if he communicates his belief to others, and even if he goes so far to pray to it in his mind only, he still has not done any act of physical worship (such as praying to it by physically moving his lips), so he has not transgressed a capital sin. However, he is classed as an idolater, and unrighteous, for which his soul may be liable to punishment, and he is forfeiting the opportunity to have a part in the future World to Come.

In regard to the examples you asked about, it is clear that joy, happiness, and pleasure, as they are perceived or experienced by human beings, are creations of G-d.
So if a person imagines, for example, that there exists a separate power in the universe or in the Heavens, called "the Power of Joy," which he believes to have its own ability to willfully influence and exert effects on the creation, that is an idolatrous belief.
If he goes farther and physically prays or bows down to this imagined "Power of Joy," or if he undertakes specific actions by which he intends to serve and connect with it, that is the transgression of "serving an idol." For example, if he gets joy from eating ice cream, he might invent a ritual in which he regularly serves and worships the "Power of Joy" by eating ice cream, in honor of his deity.

But if a person just indulges his own personal desires, for the sake of his own enjoyment of the pleasure he gets from it, that person may have personal issues, but it does not fall within the definition of the sin of idolatry.

> Why fear of G-d and love to G-d as feelings one should derive on a constant level are not idolatrous?

Because (a) they are righteous feelings that are directed to G-d Himself, and (b) they are feelings that G-d Himself wants and instructs us to have on a constant basis, as much as the person is able (and even more). We can learn this from the fact that fear of G-d, and love of G-d, are two of the 613 commandments for Jews in the Torah, and according to human intellect (based on knowledge and understanding of the One True G-d), it is logical that every person should develop those emotions within himself.

Messages In This Thread
Definition of an idol - by Randy - 07-23-2007, 11:58 AM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by rabbiyitz - 07-24-2007, 01:44 AM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by Randy - 07-25-2007, 10:20 AM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by zoidberg - 07-26-2007, 01:20 AM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by newlybennoach - 08-30-2007, 02:55 PM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by patkris - 09-16-2007, 03:13 AM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by Director Michael - 09-16-2007, 12:33 PM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by patkris - 09-16-2007, 02:09 PM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by bdschuh - 11-08-2007, 07:35 AM
RE: Definition of an Idol - by Director Michael - 12-24-2007, 07:19 PM
RE: Pagan holidays - by Director Michael - 12-18-2008, 03:05 AM
RE: Definition of an idol - by Director Michael - 08-28-2009, 06:55 PM
Conceptual idolatries - by Hrvatski Noahid - 09-25-2013, 03:31 AM
RE: Definition of an idol - by Director Michael - 10-01-2013, 11:34 AM
RE: Definition of an idol - by OlKorekt - 02-25-2018, 09:20 PM
RE: Definition of an idol - by Director Michael - 03-07-2018, 03:53 AM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)