Question:

Regarding the prohibition of drawing pictures of the sun (see the several other posts on this amazing website about this prohibition), does it apply in the following scenarios:
1) Youdraw a simple yellow circle with lines (rays) coming out of it? A simple picture that even a three year old could draw…
2) Even if you do not color it in, i.e you just make a yellow line in the shape of a circle?
3) Just draw the rays of the sun without drawing the sun’s “body”? Is this an eitza for one who wants to graw the “sunny sky”?
4) L’ma’aseh (there is a machlokes) can you draw a half sun (e.g. draw the sun in the top corner of the page, cutting off part of the sun’s “body”? What is the primary opinion l’halacha? Is it a חשש דאורייתא or just מדרבנן?

Thanks so much!

Answer:

 

It depends on what it looks like. If people looking at it will say, that they see a picture of the sun, then it is prohibited, even if it is a simple drawing. But obviously not every circle is considered a “sun”, but only if it looks like it is meant to be a picture of the sun, and it looks like that to people. For people to think that something is the sun it doesn’t have to be in color, as long as it looks to people like a sun.

One may make a picture of a part of the sun in the corner of the page, because that is not the way the sun ever appears, and it like drawing only a partial picture of a person, which is permitted. Taking a picture of the sun setting or rising is controversial, and different than merely drawing it in the corner of the page because the partial sun at sunrise of sunset is the natural way the sun looks, but when it is done on the corner of a page it is not the way it ever appears.

If someone draws only draws lines, I don’t think anyone will consider it the sun, rather the rays of the sun. As far as I know, there is no prohibition to making the rays of the sun.

Sources:

Yad Hakatana Avodah Zara 3-7 (33), Igros Moshe O:CH 5-9 (6), also see Am Hatorah Vol. 3 -7 pg. 95 ( 2).R’ Falk Shlit”a in A Hatorah vol. 3 5 pg. 63-2.

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2 Responses to “Drawing a “sun”— the parameters of the prohibition”

  1. Thanks so much for this informative answer and terrific sources.

    Follow up questions:

    1) A yellow circle (not colored in) does not look like the sun inherently, only because the surrounding area is “the sky” (perhaps because it is blue or because there are clouds) one sees that circle as the sun— in such a case is it still prohibited? What if it is just a black circle (as it would appear in a photocopy)— all it is by itself is a black circle?

    2) Based on what you wrote, a picture of sun on the top of the page (even not in the corner) would be fine, as long as it is not fully drawn?

    3) Would it also be fine to draw a sun partially covered by a cloud? There, too, the sun is not fully drawn?

    • 1. The prohibition is only when it appears to be a picture of the sun. It is true that the backround and circumstances to contribute to what it looks like.
      2. True.
      3. I would assume that the sun when it is partially covered in a cloud would be part of the same controversy.

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