Question:

I made the attached piece of art in 1st grade- public school. It was well received by the school principal and hung in the school until when it was recently returned to me.
The art depicts a “sun god”- we were learning about ancient egyptian religion. Is it permissible to own the item? It it acceptable to hang the etching in my house. I am rather proud of the picture, considering when I made it.

Attached:

Attached file 1

Answer:

 

Figures and designs that are the type that are worshiped should not be kept in your home even if one were to know that a specific one had not been worshiped.[1]

However, items that were never worshiped and were fashioned to remind one of a pagan idol, are ornamental or decorative do not have the status of avodah zoro and one may benefit from them.[2]

Years ago there was concern that if someone kept an item that is worshiped in his possession it might lead others to think that the owner worshiped the item. It is not reasonable for people to consider a cross worn on one’s neck or a picture drawn, framed and hung in a home to suspect the owner of worshipping the picture and thus permissible to own as well.[3]

There is also no prohibition against drawing the sun in such a form since it clearly is not a sun nor accurate depiction of the Egyptian sun god. Presumably the artistic work was the product or your creative imagination. Furthermore, the work of a first-grader, despite being recognized by the school administration as special, is not so real a drawing as to be confused with the real thing.

See also http://dinonline.org/?p=39264 for a similar issue and relevant information.

 

Sources:

 

[1] Ramo Yoreh De’ah 141:3.

[2] See Ramo Y.D. 141:1 who permits one to sell crosses that hang around one’s neck. These crafted pieces either identify the wearer as Christian, serve as a reminder or are a form of jewelry.

[3] בחכמ”א (פה:ו) ובגר”א (יו”ד סימן קמא ס”ק י”ח) ובנצי”ב על השאילתות (יתרו נז:ג) דליכא האידנא חשדא דעובדים לע”ז ע”ש.

 

Tags: artwork idol sun-god

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