Question:

When I was in high school one of my friends went on a trip to India and brought me back a miniature statue of Buddha. My parents didn’t like it and wanted me to get rid of it but I insisted on keeping it and made a big issue of it and called the local rabbi and insisted I should keep it and I think he was reluctant but said it was okay. Later on when I was a little older and still had the statue, I was trying to improve and do teshuva for a bunch of things, even though it would still be another several years until I got to a passable level of observance, and I was still going downhill in areas like kosher and Shabbos, but one evening I felt like it was right thing to throw away the statue, so I threw it away in the garbage when nobody was around. Was the statue and idol? Was I wrong for keeping it? Was throwing it away sufficient teshuva? Was it a big deal or a small, insignificant thing?

Answer:

The statue was not an idol, because it wasn’t meant to be bowed to, but to be sols as a souvenir. Nevertheless, you did the right thing by throwing it out. The reason is that since there are people that bow to it, by keeping it in your possession, it can look like you are keeping it for unwanted uses, therefore it should not be kept in our possession. By throwing it out even though you didn’t want to, and you surely felt bad about it, therefore all you have to do is tell H-shem that you didn’t know that it was indeed incorrect, and that you will not do this again. That would be sufficient teshuva.

Sources:

Rema Y:D 141-2

Tags: idol

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