Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes
© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-12/ELoKiM Opened the Door for IDOLATRY
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1. “I Am (Essence)
1: Denying Moses’ First Commandment is IDOLATRY
In our quest for understanding the IDOLATRY Commandment, we’ve ‘exhausted’ the First of Moses’ Ten Commandments, that says:
2. “YHVH your ELoKiM (Attributes in Oneness
3. “Who took you out of Egypt Land...” (Kingship)
It is a ‘positive’ commandment, obligating us to KNOW the Speaker, G-d, by these very Names He elected to present Himself.
Hence denying or rejecting these Names and Titles is a sort of IDOLATRY. Thus,
1. Denying His Self, or Existence is like “uprooting the Tree,” and is considered IDOLATRY.
2. Denying His Attributes’ or distorting them or mispronouncing them or disrespecting them is also a sort of IDOLATRY. So is the attempt to separate them, or deny their Oneness, or to prefer one over the other. This sort of IDOLATRY is referred to as “separating the glued ones.”
3. Rejecting His Kingship is a rebellion and a sort of IDOLATRY.
2: The IDOL’S list is coupled to KINGSHIP
We move now from the First to the Second of Moses’ Ten Commandments. As we’ll learn, it lists for us ALL THE POSSIBLE IDOLS EVER CONCIEVED BY MAN. It comes in seven lines:
(Moses’ Second of the Ten Commandments)
1. “Thou shall not have for yourself
2. “Other ELoKiMs
3. “ Over my face
4. “Thou shall not make for yourself any image or statues
5. “Of anything in the Heavens above and in the earth below….
6. “Thou shall not bow to them
7. “Nor serve them…”
We’ve already noticed that the Second Commandment comes immediately after KINGSHIP (line 3 of the First Commandment.) Hence Moses presents IDOLATRY as a battle between two KINGSHIPS: Mankind either enthrones YHVH ELoKiM or the idols on ourselves. Moses leaves no ‘neutral option’ of enthroning no one on ourselves. Man is made to withstand the battle of attractions, between G-d and the idols.
When did ELKM allow IDOLATRY to exist?
3: He spoke in plural
“Let us make and Adam in our Form and Our Image.”
Earlier we quoted the Midrash (Rashi) saying that before making Adam, ELoKiM turned to His Angles and said in plural voice:
Surprised, they asked: “Our King! Why do you consult us? Aren’t we your faithful messengers who fulfill your wishes without discretion?”
ELoKiM answered: “I consult you, my Angels, to teach Adam modesty: that the superior should consults the Inferior.”
Hence ELKM ‘stepped down’ from His High Pedestal as a Supreme JUDGE who rules alone, to become a King Who Consults with modesty. ELKM wishes Adam to emulate Him and do the same: override his egoistic drive to be a dictator and, instead, rule by listening, in a democratic fashion.
But the story continues: (see Rashi).
Hearing Him, the Angels asked: “Our King! Aren’t you afraid that by speaking in plural, you’ve opened the door for IDOLATERS to think they have more than one CREATOR?”
ELoKiM answered: “I speak in plural, risking IDOLATRY, for teaching Adam modesty is paramount.”
Hence by speaking in plural, ELKM opened the door for IDOLATRY to exist. By descending from his Dictatorship and becoming a King Who Consults, He allowed REJECTION to be tolerated, to be heard.
it comes out that IDOLATRY is not just one Commandment of many, nor is it a passing issue. Man is born to withstand the IDOLATRY TRAP trial. It will exist as long as Man exists. The type of idols, of course, is changing as Man progresses in history.
4: What might serve as an idol?
We can now define what might serve as an idol:
Whomever ELoKiM consulted with to make Adam, might serve as a potential Idol, an IDOLATRY TRAP.
It is as if ELKM’s Consultation has rendered that entity a magical charm in Adam’s mind and heart, so much that he would be forever attracted to adore and worship them, instead of the True CREATOR. In other words, Man would be tempted to worship these entities as
1. Powerful ‘Partners’ of ELKM, or his Councilors.
2. Powerful forces on their own rights.
We shouldn’t ask why ELoKiM opened the door for IDOLATRY to exist. EoKiM the JUDGE created the world, after all, to stand judgment. The nameless CREATOR elected to create the World while wearing the hat of a JUDGE, so that we would EARN His Goodness, rather than receiving it as a humiliating CHARITY. The foremost trial of our lives is the IDOLATRY trial.
5: False Brides
To comprehend the idols better, let’s recall that at Adam creation, ELKM many entities, like the Six Days, and His Wisdom, and made Adam. He also LONGED to meet YHVH, His BRIDE, and consulted Her too to make Adam.
Then He opened the door for IDOLATRY to exists.
It comes out, therefore, that WHOMEVER ELKM consulted with, apart from YHVH, may serve as a FALSE BRIDE, that would attract Adam to adore it and worship, instead of YHVH ELKM.
There is no better definition of an idol, than this one.
6: The base of Rosh Hashanah
The annual anniversary of Adam creation re stages all the ingredients of the events surrounding the creation of Adam. It is an awesome day of
(1) Universal Judgment: when the entire CREATION passes before ELKM’s throne, and He remembers each and every creature, assesses it and judges its fate for the next year.
(2) (3) Kingship: when ELKM ascends again on the throne of Absolute Kingship, then listens to the Merciful YHVH defending us. We designate ELKM ascent by Silver trumpets blowing, and the ascent of YHVH by horn blowing. The trumpets and the horn are blown together to designate YHVH ELKM Oneness. On Rosh Hashanah the horn blowing prevails, since YHVH prevails in Her Mercy and Forgiveness.
(4) The End of IDOLATRY: Since Adam is born to withstand the IDOLATRY TRAP trial, we pray on Rosh Hashanah that we’ll merit seeing the end of that trial and that the knowledge of YHVH will cover earth like water that covers the sea.
The Nameless CREATOR descent
Just look at Moses’ first two Commandments.
You see there how the Infinite CREATOR ‘descended,’ to create the world then to create Adam then to allow the idolatry trial:
First there was only the “I Am,” the SELF.
Then He showed the world His Attributes, YHVH and ELKM, each one ruling alone
Then He assumed Kingship when the Attributes YHVH ELKM consulted each other to make Adam,
A consultation, Kingship, that allowed the idols in the next Commandment to exist!
Now let’s ask: What are the idols, exactly?
END OF IDOLATRY CLASS 12