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Idols in restaurants
#1
Hi Rabbis and Michael-
What if there is an idol in the restaurant where I want to eat? In all of the oriental restaurants where I live, they always have an idol there. I am not bowing to it, and I don't THINK the food they serve was offered to it and they put other food in front of it? How do I proceed? I'd like to find a way to eat at these places and still obey
G-d even as a Chassidic Noahide.
Thank you very much.
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#2
Shalom
Since you are not there to worship the idol or to give it honor but simply to eat there, and the idol is not placed there to worship but as a decoration, you do not have any problems with eating there. It is similar to the story in the Talmud of the Romans placing a statue of Aphrodite in the public bath houses. The Jews were permited to use the bath houses despite the idol being there.
Rabbi Yitz
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#3
rabbiyitz Wrote:and the idol is not placed there to worship but as a decoration, you do not have any problems with eating there.

In my favorite thai-restaurant the owner give the idol drinks, fruit and burn incense. The idol do not look like just a decoration but an object for worship. I guess I have to find another restaurant.

/Niklas
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#4
As we try to be near to Kosher when eating out. What is your view if we eat at a Chinese Vegetarian food stall ? But surrounding our meal are there are many idols displayed and also their idols stuff like their free scriptions, booklets, accessories like beads, chanting items and etc.

I felt so intimated and oppressed.

Shalom !
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#5
As Gentiles, you don't need to make any effort to eat kosher, since that involves commandments for the Jews. The exception would be if you have a concern that the meat was probably not obtained properly according to the Noahide dietary commandment, which prohibits eating meat that was severed from a mammal or bird before it died. In that case, you can just avoid eating the meat, or you can eat kosher meat or halal meat. So the Chinese vegetarian food itself is OK for you to eat.

If there are idols, etc. displayed nearby, you can just ignore them, but take care not to show them any apparent signs of respect (such as bending down in front of an idol, which would look like bowing). The problem would be going into a building (e.g. a temple) that is dedicated for services of idol worship, or if the food had been used as an offering to an idol before it was served to you.
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#6
Shalom All,

With regards to this topic I have a query on 'The Prohibition Against Aiding Idol worshipers' Chapter 10 Paragraph (8) (The Divine Code second edition).

It states there:

'It is forbidden to rent stores from idol worshipers, since one gives them profit (unless there is no alternative available)...'

Should one seek to avoid frequenting restaurants that display idols for an additional reason of avoiding giving them profit also? The idolators who run the restaurants also may have in mind that the success of their restaurant can be attributed to their idol and because they display it proudly. This would seem to be strengthening them in their idol worship and give them the wrong impression there is nothing wrong with what they are doing? Although they may have enough customers that my decision either way will not affect this and they would not even notice, it still seems like strengthening something that is wrong especially when one can always eat elsewhere or at home.

I think most thai and indian (non-muslim) restaurants follow the practice of displaying actual idols. Many chinese restaurants have what may be described as superstitious/'lucky' charms that may not actually be worshiped as such.

Whilst the main intention may be just to give more of an exotic/authentic ambience to the restaurant to attract secular westerners, it can also be the case that such people may be more susceptible to being attracted to serving idols through this. Those are the kind of people who think nothing of bowing before a buddha and serving up incense before it when going on an overseas holiday.

Besides a visceral internal discomfort and disgust (perhaps non-logical) one feels at being anywhere in the presence of these idols, could the above be good reasons for Noahides to apply additional strictness to avoiding or declining invitations to these places?
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#7
Thanks for your informative post. The answer to each of your questions is "yes."
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