What Constitutes Idolatry?


As Jews, we take for granted we are monotheists. But are there other things we do that violate the biblical prohibition against idolatry without us realizing? For example, is an obsession or an obsessive interest in something or someone considered idolatry? That being we enjoy something or someone so much that the subject occupies our thoughts most of the time to the point that we can’t get it out of our heads, and we are thinking about it throughout the day, even at times when we are supposed to be concentrating on something else.



  1. While having an obsession about a particular thing is not normally healthy, it cannot be described as idol worship. Idol worship means that a person regards whatever it is that they are worshiping as being divine. Actually, idol worship is considered to be such an extreme sin that even thinking about worshiping an idol is considered to be akin to worshiping the idol.

    With regards to obsessions in general, there is a delightful story that is told about Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’s esteemed wife, who once accused her husband of being like a drunkard. She said, “A drunkard is always thirsty for another drink, and my husband is always thirsty for more Torah!”

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team