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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 1 (Tora) -- Part: 2 (Negative) -- Prohibition: 4 -- Text
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The Sharia of Moses in the TORA
Part 2 - The 365 Prohibitions of the Tora

4 - MAKING FIGURES OF HUMAN BEINGS


Leviticus 19:4 -- “Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.”
Exodus 20:23 -- “You shall not make anything to be with Me--gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.”

“But figures of cattle and other living things – with the exception of man – and of trees and plants, and similar objects, it is permissible to make, even if the figures are in relief.”*

* Mishneh Torah, Abodath Kochabim III, 2
Thus: “You shall not make anything to be with Me--gods of silver or gods of gold” Is it only gods of silver and gold that we are not to make, while gods of wood are permitted? The verse, said R. Ashi, refers to judges appointed through the power of silver or gold (they give the authorities to secure the appointment)’ (Sanh. 7b, Sonc. ed. pp. 29f). In other words, the verse prohibits the appointment of judges who are not fit for their office, but obtain their position by bribing those in authority.

It is explained in Sanhedrin that this negative commandment – that is, His words, “You shall not make anything to be with Me--gods of silver… etc.” – also embraces other matters, which go beyond the scope of these commandments*.

* Mishneh Torah, Mada, Hilchoth Abodath Kochabim III, 10

The prohibition under consideration does not apply to painting.* “Just as the body becomes exhausted from hard labor, and then by rest and refreshment recovers, so is it necessary for the mind to have relaxation by gazing upon pictures and other beautiful objects, that its weariness may be dispelled. |From this point of view, therefore, the use of pictures and embroideries for beautifying the house, the furniture, and the clothes is not to be considered immoral or unnecessary.”**

* Shemonah Perakim V, p. 72, Gorfinkle ed
** Sanh. 60b, Sonc. ed. pp. 410f

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