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1,146. A Signet Ring
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168:3 Regarding a ring with a seal in the shape of a person, if it is raised, it is forbidden to retain it. It is, however, permitted to seal documents with it because it makes a sunken impression. If the seal is sunken, one may retain it but he may not seal documents with it […]
1,145. Idols
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168:1 Exodus 20:19 says, “Do not make ‘gods’ of silver with Me…,” which the Sages understand as a warning not to draw an image of anything of the higher or lower realms. We may therefore not make images of the angels who serve before G-d, which includes the four faces of the chariot (Ezekiel chapter […]
1,144. Midwifery
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167:19 A Jewish woman should not serve as midwife for a non-Jewish woman unless she is known for her work in this area, in which case it is permitted in order to avoid animosity. This is only for pay and during the week. A Jewish woman should not nurse a non-Jewish woman’s baby, even for […]
1,143. The Suspicion of Violence
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167:17 A Jew should not be alone with a non-Jew as they are suspected of bloodshed. (Editor’s note: thankfully, this may not be consistent with readers’ experience but it was certainly the case for much of history and even in some places today.) 167:18 A non-Jewish woman may not nurse a Jewish child in her […]
1,142. Praising an Idolator
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167:15 It is forbidden to praise an idolator, even to comment favorably on his appearance, and certainly one may not praise his deeds or his words. This is also included in the prohibition of “do not flatter them” (Deuteronomy 7:2). However, if one’s intention is to praise G-d for creating such an attractive person, then […]
1,141. Giving Gifts
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167:13 Mocking is prohibited except for mocking idolatry, which is permitted. 167:14 It is prohibited to give a gift with no strings attached to a non-Jew one doesn’t know, as per Deuteronomy 7:2, “do not flatter them.” The Talmud (Avodah Zara 20a) understands this to mean not giving them presents. If one knows him, however, […]
1,140. Uttering the Names of Idols
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167:11 It is forbidden to carry out business with idolators in a place where they gather together under the impression that their sins are forgiven there. 167:12 It’s forbidden to utter the name of an idol, whether for some purpose – such as to tell a friend, “Wait for me next to such-and-such idol” – […]
1,139. Bending Down Near an Idol
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167:9 If one has a thorn in his foot or if he dropped some coins in front of an idol, he may not bend over to remove the thorn or to pick up the coins because it will appear as if he is bowing to the idol. This is prohibited even if there are no […]
1,138. Enjoying an Idol’s Ornaments
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167:7 It’s forbidden to gaze at an idol or its ornaments as per Leviticus 19:4, “do not turn to idols.” One must distance himself four cubits from a house of idolatry, and certainly from the idol itself, in order not to pass by there. One may not listen to the music or smell the incense […]
1,137. Working for the Sake of an Idol
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167:5 A cross that people bow down to may not be used without being nullified. A cross that is worn as a necklace by religious adherents need not be nullified. 167:6 One may not do anything for the sake of idols, not even installing the windows in the house of idolatry. One may not sell […]