Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Dangers Of Undisciplined Speculation - Avodah Zara.

In my previous post, I showed how Rambam, as I understand him, interprets the first two of three verses in Shemot 24:9-11. Here is how he interprets the third one.

יא וְאֶל-אֲצִילֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ; וַיֶּחֱזוּ, אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, וַיֹּאכְלוּ, וַיִּשְׁתּוּ.11

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel, He laid not His hand; and they beheld God, and did eat and drink.

As I explained based on Rambam, this group of intellectuals was speculating about the relationship between God, a transcendental entity, and Materia Prima, the first material existence in the chain of cause and effect that is at the root of our own physical existence. The verse starts with a negative connotation - וְאֶל-אֲצִילֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ - And upon the nobles of the children of Israel, He laid not His hand – intimating that they deserved a punishment. In MN1:4 Rambam explains the words וַיֶּחֱזוּ, אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים - and they beheld God – as follows:

The three verbs raah, hibbit, and ḥazah, which denote "he perceived with the eye," are also used figuratively in the sense of intellectual perception… The same explanation applies to ḥazah. It denotes to view with the eye, as: "And let our eye look (ve-taḥaz) upon Zion" (Mic. iv. 11). Also figuratively, to perceive mentally: "which he saw (ḥazah) concerning Judah and Jerusalem" (Isa. i. 1); "The word of the Lord came unto Abraham in a vision" (maḥazeh) (Gen. xv. 1). In this sense ḥazah is used in the phrase, "And they beheld (saw) (va-yeḥezu) God" (Exod. xxiv. 11). Note this well.”

By ending with “Note this well”, Rambam is calling our attention to what he feels to be very important. Not all Rishonim agreed with Rambam that it is impossible to physically see a transcendental entity. For example Ramban, on Breishit 18:1, insists that Avraham saw angels with his physical eyes because angels exist in an ephemeral form, somewhere between the transcendental and the physical. Rambam will not accept that at all. He therefore makes a point that seeing, whenever it deals with a transcendental entity, is an internal mental and intellectual experience. Thus, these intellectuals, in their metaphysical speculations, developed a mental image of God, each to his own ability וַיֶּחֱזוּ, אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים - and they beheld God. Unfortunately, the nobles [princes] developed an erroneous idea of God. They confused Materia Prima with God himself. It is very easy to see God in the forces of nature, the forces that cause the physical effects we see and perceive, while they themselves are known to us only by induction and deduction.

But "the nobles of the Children of Israel" were impetuous, and allowed their thoughts to go unrestrained: what they perceived was but imperfect. Therefore it is said of them, "And they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet," etc. (Exod. xxiv. 10); and not merely, "and they saw the God of Israel"; the purpose of the whole passage is to criticize their act of seeing and not to describe it. They are blamed for the nature of their perception, which was to a certain extent corporeal--a result which necessarily followed, from the fact that they ventured too far before being perfectly prepared. They deserved to perish, but at the intercession of Moses, this fate was averted by God for the time… The nobles of the Children of Israel, besides erring in their perception, were, through this cause, also misled in their actions: for in consequence of their confused perception, they gave way to bodily cravings. This is meant by the words, "Also they saw God and did eat and drink - וַיֹּאכְלוּ, וַיִּשְׁתּו ".” (MN 1:5)

Confusing God with His creations is the main issue of Avodah Zara. It is falsehood and is at the root of types of worship that focus on the physical. At the Egel, which this misunderstanding was its precursor, we also see a similar kind of worship.

וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ, מִמָּחֳרָת, וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלֹת, וַיַּגִּשׁוּ
שְׁלָמִים; וַיֵּשֶׁב הָעָם לֶאֱכֹל וְשָׁתוֹ, וַיָּקֻמוּ לְצַחֵק

6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to make merry. (Shemot32:6)

Metaphysical speculation in a vacuum, without proper intellectual preparation and perfecting oneself morally and ethically, leads to erroneous concepts and ideas about God.

In this earlier post I quoted Rambam in Shemona Perakim, “On the other hand, when he sees him only from the back, although he does recognize him during that sighting, he will eventually have doubts and confuse him with another.” I believe that this report about the “nobles of the children of Israel” is an example of to “confuse him with another”.


  1. I agree with you that the nobles of Israel made a mistake trying to understand G-D in a physical way. They were trying to relate G-D to their existence, according to the Rambam, which is impossible. However, I would not necessarily say that this led them to Avoda Zara. Why assume that they were deserving of a punishment? Maybe the fact that G-D did not send His hand against them just means He allowed them to live even though they perceived Him. This being in contrast to what G-D later says to Moshe that no one can see Him and live. I just don't understand why you have to say they were sinners or idol worshipers.

  2. see the whole text of MN I quoted

    They deserved to perish, but at the intercession of Moses this fate was averted by God for the time. They were afterwards burnt at Taberah, except Nadab and Abihu, who were burnt in the Tabernacle of the congregation, according to what is stated by authentic tradition.

    What does it furthermore say at Nadav Ve'avihu - Esh Zara!

    Is not Avodah Zara just that confusing a material being with God? Polytheism is exactly that for monotheism by definition must see God as transcendental while polytheism must see all gods as corporeal.

  3. I see that the Rambam says they were acting inappropriately and deserved to be punished. However, my hesitation for this pshat deals with the question of why is this connected to Avoda Zara? They were unprepared for how far they ventured into perception of G-D, and therefore acted inappropriately, but why say they worshiped Avoda Zara?

    Just because one fails to properly perceive G-D, does that really mean they are connecting to Avoda Zara?

    There are two different types of Avoda Zara, one is using an intermediary to connect to G-D and the other form is just worshiping another god or several gods. So how does an incorrect perception of G-D lead to these problems?

    Also, to respond to the Esh Zara idea, I don't think that has anything to do with Avoda Zara. Just, they acted inappropriately in their connection to G-D. Maybe you could say that a mistaken perception leads to forbidden acts and one of them is Avoda Zara, but to say a misperception is Avoda Zara is a bit harsh. Do you really think that is what the Rambam is saying?

  4. E-Man My article on Avodah Zara to which you can link on the sidebar discusses many of the issues you mention here though not directly. I hope to address them on the blog. If I do not get distracted I may do so in upcoming posts. Achrei is coming soon. But bekitzur I stand by my post.

  5. Reb Guttman,

    what is your understanding of the soul? Does the essential aspect of our minds derive from the body/nervous system or not? I'm curious in knowing your opinion on this matter

  6. Israelis home and abroad simply don't understand.
    It's Not About Torah Or Temple Worship......

    Avodah (Hebrew)

  7. Deborah Shaya9/16/2009 11:54 AM

    1. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn tz”l, known as, ‘The Rebbe,’ was NOT the Moshiach.

    Those who erroneously believe him to be the Moshiach that Am Yisrael is waiting for today, are bordering on Christianity, and committing the grave sin of Avodah Zarah, Idolatry.

    Idolatry is forbidden in the Torah, and is the Second of the Asseret Hadibrot.
    Similarly in the case of Breslov with Rav Nachman tz”l.

    2. There should be NO MEDIATOR between a person’s tefillot and Hashem.

    If a person chooses to use intercession instead of praying directly to Hashem, this is completely Assur.

    If the leaders of Chabad encouraged people to use the “Igrot” - including Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, tz”l - they were wrong. Using the Igrot is using intercession. Similarly the practices of

    (1) "reading out the Igrot request to a PICTURE of Rabbi Schneersohn tz"l" is direct Avodah Zarah. We are only allowed to pray to Hashem.

    (2) sending faxes to the Bet HaChaim should be stopped immediately.

    (3) Praying directly to the Tzaddik at the Bet HaChaim is wrong. It causes tremendous tsaar to the neshamah of the Tzaddik in Shamayim. We pray only to Hashem – directly ourselves. NO mediator is permitted.

    These practices are abhorrent and against the Torah. They are assur and forbidden, and should all be stopped.

    If the tzaddik advised that people do this in his lifetime – he was wrong. And this must be corrected. Speedily.

    TESHUVAH to Hashem should be done speedily instead - by the whole of the Chabad organisation especially. The whole of the Chabad organisation is currently all refusing to do Teshuvah. Similarly in the case of Breslov, with those who go Uman to pray directly to the Tzaddik – instead of directly to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. “Intercession” and “mediation” is against the Torah.

    The Torah cannot be mixed with Avodah Zarah. This is twisting the Torah, and the Torah must remain straight.

  8. Deborah Shaya9/16/2009 11:56 AM

    3. Why was the place of Moshe Rabeinu, the very greatest of all the Prophets, kept hidden from us? Precisely so that Moshe would c”v never be worshipped. So that people would never pray to Moshe, c”v, instead of directly to Hashem, themselves. The Torah states very clearly:

    “…velo yada ish et kevurato ad hayom hazeh” (Vezot Haberacha 34:6) “…and no man knows the place that he was buried even to this day.”

    If people are praying to a tzaddik, who is finite – and of far lesser stature than Moshe – instead of to Hashem – who is Infinite – that is avodah zarah.

    If people wish to go to the Kivrei Tzaddikim to pray to Hashem from there, that is their choice. Far better, is to encourage people to go instead to the most holy place in the world – the Kotel. Hashem’s Presence is always there.

    The Kotel is where people should be going to pray to Hashem. Not the Bet HaChaim.

    4. If people want to pray to anyone else, and make requests of any being other than Hakadosh Baruch Hu, they might as well join Christianity.

    When Moshe prayed, he prayed to Hashem. He did not pray to any Malachim or any celestial beings. These are all the creations of Hashem.

    We are not allowed to pray to the creations of Hashem.

    Similarly, with regard to the Selichot, and the Neilah prayer for Yom Kippur in the Ashkenazi tradition - they include direct Tefillot and requests to Malachim.

    The Malachim are the creations of Hashem.

    We are not allowed to pray to any Malachim.

    This is completely assur and causes very great damage and harm. I emphasise that this is something very grave which needs to be rectified as well - speedily.

    The Selichot and the Neilah Tefillah for Yom Kippur should be amended speedily to remove all prayers and requests to Malachim.

  9. Deborah Shaya9/16/2009 11:59 AM

    5. The false argument used by Chabad to permit intercession on a person’s behalf, is the act of Calev ben Yefuneh praying at the Cave of Machpelah in Chevron. He prayed for success in his mission of “spying out” the Land, Eretz Yisrael.

    No one can use this as a precedent for asking the Tzaddikim - and specifically, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn tz"l - who are no longer alive physically on earth, to pray on a person’s behalf. This causes them tremendous suffering in Shamayim.

    This is twisting the Torah, and the Torah cannot ever be twisted.

    The reason Calev’s act cannot be used as a precedent, is that NO ONE, can be compared to the supreme Kedusha of the Avot, of Avraham, Yitzchak ve’Yaakov Avinu.

    We pray the Amidah 3 times a day, and we always recall the great merit of the Avot in the very first Beracha. What can be greater than that when we pray to Hashem?

    This does need to be corrected very quickly, to be in line with the Torah.

    6. When people need help, why don’t Chabad teach people to look inside the Torah, which is Eternal and Infinite - instead of letters written to other people by Rabbi Schneersohn tz”l during his lifetime?

    Why doesn't Chabad choose the very greatest of all prophets, Moshe Rabbeinu?

    7. Moshe is the greatest of all prophets, and no other prophet was equal to him.

    “Zichru Torat Moshe Avdi” we are told in Malachi (3:22)

    There simply is no comparison between Moshe Rabbeinu and Rabbi Schneersohn tz”l, although Rabbi Schneersohn tz”l was a Tzaddik and a very righteous and good man.

    Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest of all prophets, and we do not even pray in the name of Moshe. Neither do we pray in the name of David Hamelech, whose descendent is the Mashiach.

    However, in the very first Beracha of the Amidah, the silent prayer to Hashem containing our requests, we recall the merit of the Avot: “…..Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzhak Velokei Yaakov….” “….The G-d of Avraham, the G-d of Yitzhak and the G-d of Yaakov…”
    The beracha is concluded with “Magen Avraham.

    In summary:
    (1) We pray to Hashem – at all times.

    (2) There should be NO mediator between Hashem and a person’s tefillot – otherwise this is Assur.

    Therefore the practice of using the “Igrot” for "requests" and "guidance" should be stopped. Similarly the practices of sending faxes to the Bet HaChaim, and praying to the tzaddik at the Bet HaChaim instead of directly to Hashem ourselves - should be stopped immediately. They are abhorrent and against the Torah.

    The reason for this is that these practices use intercession. And the use of a “mediator” or someone to “intercede on a person’s behalf” to Hashem, is assur.

    Teshuvah to Hashem must be done - very speedily.

  10. Deborah Shaya9/21/2009 3:52 PM

    1. A Jewish Person (whether of Sephardi or Eastern European origin) is not allowed to go into ANY church. Every church, is quite simply, a place of idolatry. A church is a place of Avodah Zarah.

    If a person has gone into a church, he/she must do Teshuva to Hashem quickly.
    A person must similarly do Teshuva to Hashem if he/she has been inside any other place of idolatry e.g. a Buddist temple/Hindu temple/Greek temple/buildings of any other kind of foreign worship. These are all places of Avodah Zarah.

    Hashem, our G-d, is a very “JEALOUS G-D” who demands “EXCLUSIVE WORSHIP.” (2ND Commandment.)

    Teshuvah is very great and regarded very highly in Shamayim. A person should seize the opportunity to do Teshuva to Hashem right now, while "the Gates of Teshuva are open". By doing a true and sincere Teshuva to Hashem, the brachot (blessings) from Hashem will come into a person's life, and obstacles will begin to shift.

    2.The Jewish People is a “Holy People.” “Am Kadosh.” We are so holy, that Hashem says to Moshe Rabeinu, in the Parsha of Yitro:

    “Ve’atah im shamoa tishme’u bekoli, ushemartem et Beriti, viheyitem li segulah mikol ha’amim ki li kol ha’aretz. Ve’atem tiheyu li Mamlechet Kohanim ve’goi kadosh, eleh hadevarim asher tedaber el Benei Yisrael.” (Yitro, 19:5-6)

    “Now, if you surely listen to Me (My Voice), and you keep My Covenant, you shall be to Me the most beloved TREASURE among all nations, for all the world is Mine. And you shall be to Me, a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and a HOLY NATION.” These are the words that you must relate to the Children of Yisrael, Israel.”

    We are referred to as being Hashem’s special “Treasure.” We are a “Holy Nation,” and so holy, that we are to emulate the Cohanim, who are of a much higher stature than the rest of the Jewish People. One day, we will all be on the level of a “Kingdom of Priests.”

    The Benei Yisrael must follow the example of the true Cohanim. We should emulate the Cohanim in our daily lives, to make this into a reality.

  11. Deborah Shaya9/21/2009 3:55 PM

    REMOVAL OF SOURCES OF TUMAH, and AVODAH ZARAH (spiritual ‘uncleanliness’, which is extremely damaging) FROM YOUR HOME/LIFE:


    We are specifically commanded against idolatry, in the SECOND COMMANDMENT:

    ‘Do not have any other gods BEFORE ME.’

    ‘Lo yiheyeh lecha elohim acherim AL PANAI.’

    And: ‘Do not represent (such gods) by any CARVED STATUE OR PICTURE of anything in the heaven above, or the earth below, or in the water below the land. Do not bow down to (such gods) or worship them.
    I am G-d your Lord, A JEALOUS G-D, who demands EXCLUSIVE WORSHIP. Where My enemies are concerned, I keep in mind the sin of the fathers for (their) descendants, to the third and fourth (generation). But for those who love Me and keep My commandments, I show love for thousands (of generations.)

    ‘Lo ta’aseh lecha PESEL, vechol temunah asher bashamayim, mima’al va’asher ba’aretz, mitachat va’asher ba’mayim, mitachat la’aretz.
    Lo tishtachaveh lahem, ve’lo ta’avdem, KI ANI HASHEM ELOKECHA, KEL KANAH, poked avon avot al banim, al shileshim, ve’al ribe’im, le’sonay. Ve’osseh chessed la’alafim, le’ohavai, u’leshomrei mitzvotai.’ (Parshat Yitro, Chapter 20, verses 3-6)

    Hashem, our G-d, is a very “jealous G-d” who demands “exclusive worship.”


    Do not go into any of the following, as they are all places of idolatry, and AVODAH ZARAH (literally ‘strange worship’). They deny the Sovereignty of Hashem, the One G-d, and Creator of the World.

    - Churches
    - Buddist temples
    - Hindu temples
    - Greek temples
    - Temples/buildings of any other kind of foreign worship.

    There is a lot of TUMAH in them (spiritual ‘uncleanliness’ which can affect a person has veshalom, physically in different ways). Always walk to the opposite side of the road rather than walk directly past one of these buildings e.g. a church.


    These are graven images. They should IMMEDIATELY be removed from your home and discarded, no matter how much they might have cost, or the sentimental value attached to them. They are a strong source of Tumah.

    2a. Tefillah/Prayer – at home

    When praying at home, a person should endeavour to pray in a room which does not contain any portraits of people or statues.

  12. Deborah Shaya9/21/2009 3:56 PM


    These are a strong source of TUMAH, and bring in a lot of negativity into the home. These books and magazines negatively affect those who live in that home.

    Go through every book in your home very carefully, and check for the following. If it falls into one of these categories, or you have doubt about it – sort them out into a pile, and then DISPOSE of these books as soon as possible, and take them out of your home. Or at least take them out of your home and put them in a shed if you can.

    It is a very great MITZVAH to remove such sources of Tumah from your home. If some of these books were expensive – discard them anyway, and put aside how much they cost. They are a form of Avodah Zarah, and should be removed immediately.

    • Instead, place your EMUNAH (faith) in Hashem, that He will bless all your endeavours, and new, good things, will now be able to come into your life. You might start to feel better in yourself.

    The following are some examples:

    (a) ‘New Age’ books – (e.g. Indian authors, ‘Shambhala’ publications)

    (b) Philosophical books (e.g. by Indian writers such as Deepak Chopra etc etc)

    (c) Yoga/Tai Chi books (qi gong)/yoga magazines &leaflets; tai chi (qigong) magasines & leaflets – these physical exercises are based upon AVODAH ZARAH, and come from a SOURCE OF TUMAH. Practicing yoga or tai chi is therefore harmful to a Jewish person – spiritually, and therefore physically. Have Emunah in Hashem to find another alternative form of exercise.

    (d) Meditation books - by non-Jewish or unorthodox Jewish writers.

    Buddism abounds with “meditation.”

    Meditation is only for Prophets – it is not for the ordinary man or woman.

    (e) Books that appear ok – but contain many idolatrous images and drawings e.g. mathematical or philosophical books interspersed with pictures of dragons; snakes; mandalas; crosses; ‘third eyes’; hindu gods; hindu goddesses; buddas; tibetan gods; egyptian gods; greek gods; stone/gold idols etc etc – THESE SHOULD ALL BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY FROM YOUR HOME.


    If you have taken holiday photographs of e.g. Buddist temples, whether on the outside or inside, these are a source of Tumah, and should be discarded. Similarly for buddist celebrations. These places of AVODAH ZARAH completely DENY THE SOVREIGNTY OF HASHEM, the One and Only G-d, and Creator of the World. They should not be in your home.

    The same applies to photographs of:
    - Churches
    - Hindu temples
    - Greek temples
    - Temples/buildings of any other kind of foreign worship.

    Sort through your photographs, and discard those that relate to Avodah Zarah.

    However attached you may feel to these photographs, they should be discarded, as they completely deny the Sovereignty of Hashem.

    • Instead, place your EMUNAH (faith) in Hashem, that He will bless all your endeavours, and new, good things, will now be able to come into your life. You might start to feel better in yourself.

    5. Discard any other items related in any way to Avodah Zarah. No matter how small and insignificant, or however large e.g. bookmarks with pictures of churches; jewellery and accessories.


    1. Do not go into any places of idolatry.

    2. Discard and remove from your home all stone/wood sculptures e.g. sculptures of:
    (a) the human form (“nudes.”)
    (b) the human face
    (c ) statues – of the human form in particular.

    3. Books – discard and destroy all books relating to Avodah Zarah.

    4. Photographs – discard and destroy all photographs of Avodah Zarah.

    5. Discard any other items you have relating to Avodah Zarah e.g.jewellery.

  13. Deborah Shaya9/21/2009 3:57 PM

    HOW TO DO TESHUVAH FOR AVODAH ZARAH – once you have removed all sources of Tumah, and Avodah Zarah from your home/life.

    1. Say the KETORET twice a week at least (Tefillah, prayer).

    The Ketoret has great Kedushah, (holiness) and power to transform all negatives into positives. Say the full text of the Ketoret in the full “Sefarad” version.
    If you can say it every day, including Shabbat, this is even better. You can say it as many times as you like during the day.
    The Ketoret is said formally 3 times a day in total: twice in the Shacharit, and once during the Minchah prayer.

    2. Decide on an amount to give to TZEDAKAH, (charity) in Israel, so that it ‘hurts you’ a little bit. Give to a proper registered charity, such as a hospital or emergency services.

    3. MEZUZOT – (Positive Mitzvah, commandment in the Shema – affirming that G-d is ONE, and warning against idolatry.)

    Check that:

    (a) You have properly affixed a mezuzah on EVERY DOORWAY which needs a mezuzah. This includes archways, patio doors, folding doors, side doors to garden, garden doors.

    (b) If any places in your home are lacking a mezuzah, purchase one as soon as possible from a qualilfied Sofer (Scribe), and put it up as soon as possible.

    (c) Check that ALL your mezuzot are kosher, as soon as you can. These should be given to a qualified Sofer (scribe) for checking.

    (d) Mezuzot should ideally be checked ONCE A YEAR.

    4. Travel to the KOTEL in Israel. If you can travel with a group of people who are going for the purposes of Teshuvah, this is even better. The purpose will be to pray, (Tefila and Teshuva), and ask Hashem, Hakadosh Baruch Hu, for His forgiveness, for mechilah. If a group can be arranged, this will be a greater mitzvah for everyone who joins. If you can go individually to the Kotel, in the meantime, before the group travel, this is also very good.

    5. When you have done 1-3 and/or 4 above, (summarised below as well), you should obtain the special BERACHA, (blessing) of someone who is known to be a TRUE KOHEN/COHEN. This will bring Hashem’s brachot of the material and spiritual blessings directly into your life.

    1. Say the Ketoret – at least twice a week.
    Say the full text of the Ketoret in the full “Sefarad” version.

    2. Give Tzedakah to recognised charity in Israel

    3. Mezuzot - Have you affixed a mezuzah on every doorway?
    - Have you checked that all your mezuzot are kosher?

    4. Kotel in Israel – in a group (and individually, if possible)

    5. Bracha of a true Kohen/Cohen.

  14. Deborah Shaya10/06/2009 5:00 PM

    1. There should be NO MEDIATOR between a person’s tefillot and Hashem.

    Hashem likes to hear the prayers, tefillot, from our OWN mouths. Even if all we know is how to recite the first 3 letters of the Aleph Bet: Aleph, Bet, Gimmel... Our very own tefillot TO HASHEM, are much more precious than anything else.

    By going to the Bet HaChaim (cemetery - incorrectly referred to as “the Ohel” by Lubavitch), and lighting a candle, praying, making a request, and then going home – such a person is “leaving it all to the tzaddik” who is not physically alive. You can’t leave it all “to him!”. This is completely Assur and forbidden.

    We too, can be tzaddikim – and be like the tzaddik. The tzaddik has already made all his tefillot to Hashem in his lifetime. And these are very precious to Hashem. The tzaddik has now passed on.

    Hashem is now waiting for US – to make our OWN tefillot to Him.

    We pray to Hashem – at all times. If a person is insisting on praying to one of the creations of Hashem, instead of directly to the King Himself, Hashem will say to us, "You are meant to pray to ME!"

    Remember that Hashem, our G-d, is a very "JEALOUS G-D" who demands "EXCLUSIVE WORSHIP." (2nd Commandment of the Asseret Hadibrot.)

    What is your logic in going there?

    The Ashkenazi tradition has encouraged people to
    do this, and it is very wrong.

    Teshuvah to Hashem must be done quickly.

    2. The Benei Yisrael must follow the example of the true Cohanim. We should emulate the Cohanim in our daily lives. The Cohanim are not allowed to go into any cemetery (Jewish or not Jewish), as they cannot come into contact with ANY meitim whatsoever. We too, should emulate the Kohanim in our daily lives, and be pure like them.

    We too, should not be coming into contact with meitim where we can help it.

    Hashem has told us, “.…Ve’atem tiheyu li Mamlechet Kohanim ve’goi kadosh…” (Yitro, 19:5-6)

    “…And you shall be to Me, a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and a HOLY NATION….”

    A person’t tefillot, prayers, from the Kotel, or from his or her own house are truly delightful to Hashem. A person can also go to the Kotel to pray, and make the journey there, to pray to Hashem. Hashem’s Presence is always there.

  15. Deborah Shaya10/06/2009 5:03 PM

    1. If any Jew is a “Freemason,” this too is based upon Avodah Zarah. He/she must stop going to such a place, and associating with “freemasons.”

    2. The written requests listed below should all be destroyed - as part of removing items connected with Avodah Zarah:

    However “nice” or “comforting” or “accurate” the “reply you received” was; or whatever “beracha you received;” or “whatever the date of the letter was;” –these writings should be destroyed. They are Avodah Zarah.

    There should be NO MEDIATOR between a person’s tefillot (prayers) and Hashem.

    If a person chooses to use intercession instead of praying directly to Hashem, this is completely Assur, and forbidden.

    (a) Written “Requests” of the Igrot/Igros (letters of advice written to other people by Rabbi M. Schneerson tz”l during his lifetime);

    (b) FAXES and LETTERS “SENT TO” Rabbi M. Schneersohn tz”l after he passed away in 1994 – at the Bet HaChaim (incorrectly referred to as the, “Ohel” by Lubavitch)

    (c ) Any other communications (written) with tzaddikim at the Bet HaChaim (cemetery), who are not physically alive.

  16. Deborah Shaya:

    Many people today have been misled into avodah zarah (idolatry), of one kind or another. Some people have been misled unknowingly. The sting of avodah zarah can cause terrible harm c"v.

    Nevertheless, there is always great hope. And that is the great light of Teshuva (returning to Hashem, our G-d.) Hashem is calling out to us every day, to return to Him properly, with a pure heart:

    “……shuvu Eilai ve’Ashuva aleichem amar Hashem Tzevakot…..” (Malachi 3:7)

    “……return to Me and I will return to you, says Hashem, Master of Legions…..”

    Teshuvah is very great and is regarded very highly in Shamayim. A person should seize the opportunity to do Teshuva to Hashem right now, while “the Gates of Teshuva are open”.

    Teshuva is one of the greatest Gifts that Hashem, Our G-d, has given to us. So swallow your pride.

    By doing a true and sincere Teshuva to Hashem, the brachot (blessings) from Hashem will come into a person’s life, and obstacles will begin to shift.

    1. I have listed above:
    (a) what the sources of Tumah, and Avodah Zarah are. (‘Tumah’ is spiritual ‘uncleanliness’, which is extremely damaging to a person’s home and life). And

    (b) what a person should do to remove the sources of tumah and Avodah Zara from her/his home/life.

    2. I have also listed above, a few mitzvot, and practical steps that a person can take, in order to do Teshuvah for any kind of involvement in avodah zara.