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Negative Commandment #12

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

12. It is a negative commandment not to serve an idol the way it is normally served

As it states in Shemos (Exodus) 20:5, "Do not serve them." Even if it is a denigration to the idol, for example worshipping 'peor' which involves relieving one's self or worshipping 'merkulis' which involves throwing a rock at it, a person is punished with the death penalty of stoning. If it was done without warning, the person gets kareis (premature death). If it is done accidentally, the person is required to bring a sin offering. But if someone relieves himself in front of 'merkulis', he is not punished, because this is not considered worshipping it. It is a denigration to the idol.

If someone hugs or kisses an idol, or sweeps or fixes the ground in front of it, or another act of honor to it, if he does this in front of any form of idol, he has violated a negative commandment. He does not receive a whipping for this because it is combined together as part of a larger negative commandment. If a fountain of water is in front of the idol, a person should not put his mouth to drink from it. This looks like the person is kissing the idol.

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