Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Slippery Slope to gods of Wood and Stone


I was talking with my friend today about Israel. She was telling me about how much has changed in Israel since I was doing my "year in Israel" (mind you, I wasn't 18 when I did this.... but I digress). She was bemoaning the "Chabadish Invasion" -- the ubiquitousness of Chabad all over the world (including Israel).

I need to tell you right off that I think Chabad has done a lot of good work. But I have a major problem with them. A large percentage of Chabad people are what my friend and I call "Jews for the Rebbe". The problem is Avoda Zara.

I was listening to a "Tora tape" (a download) by Rabbi Akiva Tatz. He was talking about how the world went from believing in G-d (Adam and Hava -- Eve) to idolatry in the space of 10 generations and then again from Noah to Avraham. He said something that made a lot of sense.

What happened was that people started to think that G-d was too busy for their petty little issues. So they would say that since their problem was so small and simple they would just pray to an angel or an ancestor... this eventually translated into the mental creation of "smaller gods" which translated into people making images of these gods and eventually to them praying to the little gods.

This reminded me of what a friend of mine said to me once upon a time. She asked me why I didn't pray to G-d for help with my problems and I told her I didn't think they were important enough to bother G-d about. She asked me if I didn't think G-d could handle my little problems and I told her of course I thought G-d could handle them. I just didn't want to take G-d away from more pressing issues. But, she continued, didn't I think G-d could take care of all the issues? That made sense to me and I began praying to G-d directly about even the most seemingly insignificant issue in my life.

So what does this have to do with "Jews for the Rebbe" and other "cult of personality" groups? These groups offer up an intermediary. The problem with that is that G-d is available to everyone and when you begin to believe that you need an intermediary, you begin to fall down the slippery slope towards believing that your intermediary is a god. This is especially true if you have pictures of them hanging on your wall. It's a fine line between pictures and statues.

So what's the bottom line in all this? Trust in G-d and pray to Him/Her directly. Don't get bogged down in the whole "I don't want to bother G-d with my insignificant problem/issue". It puts you on the precipice looking down on the slippery slope to Avoda Zara.

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Strong Biblical Women
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Why Be Vegetarian
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Strong Biblical Women Part 3
About the Jewish Calendar
Witches and Morality
Presidential Trivia Quiz
Christmas and the Jewish Single
Math Hints 1 -- Adding Fractions
Presidents1: George Washington
Passover: Holiday of Freedom
Ruth and Naomi
John and John Quincy Adams
Television Trivia Quiz
Why I'm a Red Sox Fan
Being a New Internet Small Business owner

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