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Negative Commandment #144

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

144. It is a negative commandment "do not make an image of a person, even for decoration"

As it states in Shemos (Exodus) 20:20, "do not make with Me." Specifically, an image that protrudes is forbidden and a person who makes receives lashes. But if the image was made sunken/depressed or was made on paper with paints, this is allowable. A ring that has a stamp with the image of a person: it is forbidden to wear but permitted to stamp with it. If the ring has a sunken/depressed human image on it, it is permitted to be worn but forbidden to use as a stamp, as it will make a protruding image.

It is forbidden to draw the image of the sun, moon, or other celestial bodies as it states, "do not make with Me" - which includes the servants of Mine in the sky. This is even forbidden on a flat surface that does not protrude. The image of other living creatures or trees or plants is permitted, even if it is made protruding.

It is forbidden to make a house or vessels according to the plans of the Temple that stood in Jerusalem. A terrace may not be made like the Ulam in the Temple (which according to Rashi was 20 amos wide and forty amos tall). The yard may not be made like the Temple courtyard. The table made not be made like the Shulchan in the Temple. A seven-branched Menorah made of metal made not be made like the Menorah in the Temple, but a Menorah that has less or more than seven branches or a Menorah not made of metal (even if it has seven branches), is permitted.

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

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