In this letter I distinguish between “belief” and “worship”.
Would you agree that “worship” is not “accepting a certain creed as true”? I imagine that you acknowledge that worship is not an exercise of the intellect. I propose to define worship as “submission towards” – could you agree to that definition?
I will proceed with my argument assuming that you accept that definition.
“Submitting towards” could be done in an outward act of bowing in submission or bringing an offering to – without any feelings of the heart involved. These would be idolatrous if done towards another entity aside from the God of Israel – but that is not the idolatry I am talking of here. The submission I am talking is “the surrendering of the heart towards”.
Feelings of submission towards God that are triggered of by physical images – such as the beauty of a mountain that I recognize that God created – those feelings of submission have nothing to do with idolatry – I am well aware of that. In that case – the mountain is not the object of worship – there is no submission towards the mountain. However – when one identifies the activities of a physical form as the object of worship – and those activities that took place in the form are what justify and motivate the worship towards the one who is tied to that form – that is idolatry.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal