Question:

My parents have 3d decorative statues that they received from their parents. They seems to be clearly decorative. My parents are hesitant to throw them away, because of sentimental value. Is there a way to make the ownership and/or display of these 3d statues more appropriate, by halachically disowning them, partially covering them, or otherwise effecting or augmenting the statues?

Answer:

There is a biblical prohibition not to make a form of a person, and even if we didn’t make it, rabbinically we may not keep it in our possession because it appears like it is being kept in order to worship. The Chochmas Adom notes that nowadays that people are not actually worshipping such statues, that it is not forbidden to keep a 3d statue in our home. Others however argue on this and say that the statue should be deformed by taking out an eye or the nose or by making a sizeable scratch on its face to deform it, and then it may be kept. Although this is preferred, I don’t think this will go over well with your parents, therefore you can rely on the lenient opinions.

Sources:

The lenient opinion- Chochmas Adom 85-6, May shiv Davar 2-11, Oz Nidberu 8-59.

The stricter opinion- R’ M. Feinstein in am Hatorah vol 3 issue 7 pg. 95, Chazon Ish brought in Dinim Vhanhagos Y:D 4-1, R’ Eliyashiv zt”l in Haaros ( Rosh Hashana 24b, Shevet Halevi 7-134(1).

Tags: idolatry

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