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Negative Commandment #11

Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

Second Section – the Negative Commandments

11. It is a negative commandment not to bow down to idols

As it states in Shemos (Exodus) 20:5, "Do not bow down to them." Even if this is not the way to serve that idol, if a person bows down this to an idol, since this is the way of serving G-d, he deserves the death penalty by stoning. If he did it willingly but without warning, he receives kares (premature death). If he does it accidentally, he must bring a sin offering. The same law applies if a person brings it an offering, sprinkles blood in front of it, burns parts to it, or pours libations to it, because these are all ways of worshipping G-d in the Temple. This is true even if when it is not the normal way of serving that idol. A person should be killed instead of committing one of these sins.

If, in front of an idol, a person's coins became scattered or a thorn was stuck in his leg, he should not bend down to gather them or remove the thorn in front of the idol. This is because it looks like the person is bowing to the idol. He should turn his back or turn to the side to do this.

This applies in all places and at all times, for men and for women.