Sculptures, drawings and engravings

16. Sculptures, drawings and engravings:[1]

The Torah[2] prohibits making a sculpture and engraving certain items which resemble the spiritual legions of Hashem. Some of these items are even forbidden to be drawn. In Halacha A the law of drawing forms in the Madurei Elyon [Celestial legions] will be discussed. In Halacha B the laws of forms in the Madur Tachton [world creations and legions found in our heavenes] will be discussed. In Halacha C the general law of making an incomplete form of the above will be discussed. In Halacha D owning such a form will be discussed.

 

A. Making a sculpture, drawing or engraving-Madur Elyon:

Mador Shechina: Angels; lions; ox; eagle, Man:[3] It is forbidden to form the creations that are found on the chambers of the Shechina[4] [the Divine chariot] such as:

  1. a) The four faces [on the chariot, which are the lion/ox/eagle/man[5] or lion/baby/eagle/adult[6]] all in one picture [as the face of a single animal[7]]. [It is however permitted to form these faces individually, with exception to the human, which may not be made even individually, as will be explained.[8] It is likewise permitted to form two or three of these faces, with exception to the human face in which some Poskim are stringent, as will be explained. The above prohibition only applies to making a sculpture of the entire body together with the face, however to just make a head with the four faces is permitted.[9] If one found the sculpture of a human and then added to it the other three faces he transgresses the above prohibition.[10]]
  2. b) Angels such as Serafim, Ofanim, [Chayos Hakodesh[11]] and Malachei Hashareis.[12] [This refers to a human like figure with wings.[13]]

Human body:[14] It is forbidden to form a sculpture of the human body even inidividually [without the other faces of the chariot].[15] [Some Poskim[16] rule it is forbidden to make a human sculpture even if one adds to it only one or two of the faces of the chariot [or other faces[17]]. Other Poskim[18] however rule it is permitted to make the human body together with other faces, so long as one does not make all four faces of the chariot. If one makes the human body together with the other three faces of the chariot he possibly transgresses two negative commands.[19]]

The prohibited form-Sculpture and protruding engraving versus drawing and internal engraving of above items:[20] All the above forms [Humans; angels; face of the human/lion/ox/eagle] are only forbidden to be formed in a protruding method, such as a sculpture or a protruding engraving. It is however permitted to form the above items internally [such as an internal engraving, or a drawing on a surface], as is done in embroidery of a garment, or as is drawn on a board using ink.[21] [One may thus draw an angel, human, and four faces of the chariot on a board. Other Poskim[22] however rule that it is forbidden to form any of the above items in any manner, whether protruding as a sculpture or protruding engraving, or whether as an internal engraving.[23] Practically, one is to be stringent in this matter.[24] Some Poskim[25] rule that even according to this stringent opinion, it is permitted to make a drawing of the above items.[26] Other Poskim[27] rule that according to this stringent opinion it is forbidden to make even a drawing. Practically, the custom of all Jewry today is to be lenient regarding drawings.]

Making for beauty and decoration purposes:[28] It is forbidden to make any of the above forbidden forms even for purposes of mere beauty and decoration.

Making for a gentile:[29] It is forbidden to make any of the above forbidden forms even on behalf of a gentile.

Having it made by a gentile:[30] It is forbidden to ask a gentile make any of the above forbidden forms on one’s behalf even if he does not plan to posses the sculpture.[31]

Making for public:[32] It is forbidden for the public to make any sculpture or forbidden form just like a private individual.

Making for learning purposes:[33] The above prohibition only applies when making the sculpture for non-learning purposes. It is however permitted to make any of the above forms for learning purposes; to learn, understand, and teach. It is permitted to make the forms in any method for learning purposes, even in a protruding megthod [such as a sculpture or protruding engraving, and certainly one may draw them, or make an internal engraving for learning purpsoes]. [One may thus make a sculpture of an angel, human, four faces of the chariot, for the sake of education, such as to teach Torah and the like. It is however forbidden to make the sculptures for purposes of practice, such as if one is in a course which teaches the making of sculptures and one is required to make sculptures in order to pass the course.[34]]

B. Making a sculpture, drawing or engraving-Madur Tachton:

Making a sculpture, drawings and engravings of a sun, moon, stars, constelations:[35] It is forbidden to make the form of a sun[36], moon or stars [or the 12 constellations[37]]. [Some Poskim[38] rule it is forbidden to make any one of the 12 constelations even individually. Accordingly, one may not make as the form of a lion, ox, goat, lamb, fish.[39] Other Poskim[40] however rule it is only forbidden to make the 12 constelations when they are all together.[41]]

Animals/birds/fish/Trees/garden:[42] It is permitted to make [and certainly to own[43]] the forms of animals [Biheimos and Chayos], birds, fish, and the form of trees, and plantations, and the like [of any other item that has not been explicitly forbidden as listed above]. It is permitted to make even sculptures of these items. [Some Poskim[44] rule it is permitted to form the sculpture of even a lion, ox, sheep or fish.[45] Other Poskim[46] however rule it is forbidden to make the form of a lion, ox, goat, lamb, or fish.[47] Other Poskim[48] completely argue on the above ruling and rule it is forbidden to make forms and sculptures of any animals and birds [unless some of the form is recognizably lacking, as will be explained]. Practically, we do not rule like this latter opinion.[49] Some Poskim[50] rule that although in general one may make forms of animals and birds, it is forbidden to form animals and birds inside of a Shul, in order so it does not appear like one is bowing down to them. See Q&A!]

Forms used for idolatry:[51] It is forbidden to make any form that is worshipped by the gentiles as a deity.

The prohibited form-Sculpture and protruding engraving versus drawing and internal engraving of above items:[52] It is forbidden to make any of the above listed forbidden forms in any manner, whether protruding [such as a sculpture or protruding engraving], or non-protruding [such as an internal engraving].[53] [Some Poskim[54] rule that nevertheless it is permitted to make a drawing of the above items.[55] Other Poskim[56] however rule it is forbidden to make even a drawing. Accordingly, it is forbidden to draw a sun, moon or stars, whether with a pen or pencil.[57] Practically, one is to be stringent in this matter.[58]]

For learning purposes:[59] The above prohibition only applies when making an engraving or drawing for non-learning purposes. It is however permitted to make any of the above forms for learning purposes; to learn, understand, and teach. It is permitted to make the forms in any method for learning purposes, even in a protruding method [such as a sculpture or protruding engraving, and certainly one may draw them, or make an internal engraving for learning purpsoes]. [One may thus make a sculpture of a sun, moon, stars for the sake of education, such as to teach Torah and the like. It is however forbidden to make the sculptures for purposes of practice, such as if one is in a course which teaches the making of sclptures and one is required to make sculptures in order to pass the course.[60]]

Making for public:[61] It is forbidden for the public to make any sculpture or forbidden form just like a private individual.

Making for beauty and decoration purposes:[62] It is forbidden to make any of the above forbidden forms even for purposes of mere beauty and decoration.

Making for a gentile:[63] It is forbidden to make any of the above forbidden forms even on behalf of a gentile.

Having it made by a gentile:[64] It is forbidden to ask a gentile make any of the above forbidden forms on one’s behalf even if he does not plan to posses the sculpture.[65]

 

Q&A

What is defined as a drawing of a sun, moon stars?[66]

Only a drawing that resembles the sun, moon or stars in the eyes of people, and is commonly drawn by people when they desire to depict this form, is prohibited against being made. By a sun, this is defined as shining circle. However, a plain circle is not included in this prohibition at all. The same applies regarding the moon and stars, that a small plain circle or dot is not forbidden. Regarding incomplete drawings-see next!

 

B. Incomplete sculptures/engravings/pictures:

Incomplete sculpture of a human:[67] There are Poskim[68] who rule that the entire prohibition against forming a human sculpture is only if the form is whole and complete with all its limbs. However, it is permitted to form or own an incomplete sculpture of a human body, such as only a head or only a body without a head.[69] Practically, so is the custom.[70] [Likewise, it is only forbidden if it contains two eyes and a complete nose and the entire body is sculptured or engraved.[71] Other Poskim[72] however rule that even half of the body, or just the face, is forbidden to be sculptured. Accordingly, those Menorahs that contain sculptures of half a body must have their figure destroyed. Practically, one who is stringent in all this is blessed.[73] However, one is not to protest those who are lenient.[74] ]

Incomplete sculptures or engravings of other forbidden forms:[75] The above law applies to all the forbidden forms, that it is only forbidden to make the forbidden forms if they are completely whole, while a mere partial structure of the image, such as those who only make one half of the image, is permitted to be made in any way or form. [This applies even to the four faces of the chariot, that if all four faces are chipped or incomplete it may be made or owned.[76]  However, other Poskim argue on this ruling and prohibit even incomplete structures, as stated above, and it is best to be stringent, although one who is lenient is not to be protested.]

Sun-definition of whole form:[77] It is forbidden to make a full circle which resembles the sun. [However, half a circle is permitted, per the lenient ruling above.[78]

Moon-definition of whole form: Some Poskim[79] rule it is only forbidden to make a whole moon, while a half moon, such as appears in the beginning of the month is permitted to be made. Other Poskim[80] however rule that even a half moon is forbidden to be made, as moon has various size shapes throughout the month.

 

Summary of A-B:

It is forbidden to make a complete sculpture or protruding engraving of a human, angel, four faces of the Divine chariot, sun, moon or stars. It is forbidden to make an engraving of any type of the sun, moon, stars or constelations. One should be stringent not to make an internal engraving of even a human, angel, four faces of the Divine chariot. One may not draw a picture/painting of the sun, moon or stars, and there is room to be stringent against drawing even a human, angel, or four faces of the Divine chariot. Nevertheless, the widespread custom is to be lenient regarding the drawing of humans. It is permitted to make a sculpture, engraving or drawing of any other items not listed above, including animals, birds, fish, trees, and the like.

Cases of allowance: In all cases one may draw or make a complete sculpture of a human, angel, four faces of the Divine chariot, sun, moon or stars for educational purposes. One may likewise draw/sculpture for any purpose an incomplete structure of the above forms, although one who is stringent is blessed.

List of forbidden forms:

1.       Human

2.       Angel

3.       Four faces of the Divine chariot

4.       Sun

5.       Moon

6.       Stars

7.       Constelations

Q&A

May one draw a picture of a forbidden form, or take/develop the picture from a camera?

Human/angel: This matter falls under the dispute mentioned in A regarding whether one may make a picture of a human that is not protruding. Practically, while in previous times there were people who were stringent even regarding pictures of Gedolei Yisrael[81], the widespread custom today is to be lenient regarding all pictures of people.[82] It is certainly permitted to be done for education purposes. Seeing the picture of a Tzadik is a great Segulah for many matters.[83]

Sun, moon, stars: It is forbidden to draw the above forms in a complete way, as stated above in B. Accordingly, it would be forbidden to take or develop a picture of the sun, moon or stars unless it is being done for educational purposes. Those however who are lenient in this matter have upon whom to rely.[84]

May one print or copy a picture of one of the above forbidden forms?

This follows the same ruling as the previous Q&A.

 

May a Jew mint coins that have a a human figure on them, such as dime, nickle?

This matter follows the same dispute mentioned above regarding making incomplete protruding engravings of a human body.[85] Practically, one may be lenient although one who is stringent to avoid doing so is blessed.

 

May one make/manufacture dolls, action figures and other human toys?

Some Poskim[86] rule it is permitted to make sculptures which serve as mere toys and the like.[87] Practically, those who do so are not to be protested.[88] Regarding buying and owning the above items-see D in Q&A!

May one make/manufacture Sheital heads?

Some Poskim[89] permit doing so being it is not a complete figure. Other Poskim are stringent as stated above. Practically, one is not to protest against those who are lenient[90] although some are stringent to leave out some part of the face, such as the nose and the like. Regarding buying and owning the above items-see B in Q&A!

May one manufacture a Menorah with engravings of one of the forbidden forms?

No, unless the figure is incomplete. However, some Poskim[91] argue and rule one may not make the forms of a human, and the same would apply to any of the other forbidden forms, even if they are incomplete. Some Poskim[92] are stringent regarding any form, even of an animal or bird.

 

C. Owning and benefit:[93]

If one of the above sculptures that are forbidden to make was made by an idol worshiper [or any person] and then given to a Jew, it is [Rabbinically[94]] forbidden for the Jew to keep the sculpture in his possession.[95] If however one found one of the above forbidden sculptures, then it is permitted [in benefit[96]], so long as it is not a sculpture that is commonly worshiped by the gentiles[97], or that was visibly made to be worshipped.[98] It is however [Rabbinically[99]] forbidden for this sculpture to remain in one’s possession even if it was found [and hence it must be sold].[100] [Some Poskim[101] however rule it is permitted to buy and own all sculptures that are no longer customarily worshiped. Based on this, the widespread custom is to allow owning human sculptures.[102]]

Drawings and internal engravings:[103] According to all, one may own an internal engraving or painting/picture of the above forbidden forms, even if one holds it is forbidden to make this form even in an internal/painting format.[104]

For learning purposes:[105] It is permitted to make, buy and own any normally forbidden form for learning purposes; to learn, understand, and teach. This applies even to a protruding form, such as a sculpture or protruding engraving, and certainly to a drawing, or internal engraving]. [One may thus purchase a sculpture or picture of a sun, moon, stars, human body for educational purposes.]

Public owning:[106] Some Poskim[107] rule it is permitted for the public [to own[108]] any sculpture or forbidden form.[109] [This applies likewise to dual ownership.[110] Nevertheless, it is considered reputable for the public to own such sculptures and forbidden forms.[111]]

 

Q&A

May a Jew own coins that have a human figure on them, such as dime, nickel?

Yes.[112]

 

May one buy and own dolls and action figures?

Yes. Although it is forbidden to make or own a full sculpture of a human body[113], nevertheless, it is permitted to buy and own sculptures which serve as children’s toys and so is the widespread custom.[114]

May one buy and own Sheital heads?

Yes. It is not necessary to destroy some part of the face, such as the nose and the like.[115] Nevertheless, some Poskim[116] are stringent to require the deformation of the face.

May one own a Menorah that contains a picture/engraving of one of the forbidden forms?

Yes.[117] This especially applies if the form is incomplete, as explained in Halacha C.[118] However, some Poskim[119] argue and rule one must destroy the forbidden forms of a human, and the same would apply to any of the other forbidden forms, even if they are incomplete. Some Poskim[120] are stringent regarding any form, even of an animal or bird.

May one have engravings, drawings and pictures in a shul, such as by the wall, Paroches or Aron Kodesh?[121]

All forms that are forbidden to be made, as explained in the summary, are forbidden to be made as a sculpture or picture on the Aron Kodesh, Paroches or walls of the Shul. Some Poskim[122] however rule, that although one may not make the forbidden forms, one may own a Paroches that has forbidden forms, and placing it in Shul does not transgress the above prohibition of owning the forbidden forms.[123] Other Poskim[124] however forbid having such items in shul and require the removal of the forbidden forms in event that it was erected in Shul.[125] Furthermore, some Poskim[126] rule that this applies even to non-forbidden forms, such as animals, and birds, in order so it does not appear like one is bowing down to them. Other Poskim[127] negate this stringency. According to all, it is proper to avoid placing any pictures on the walls of a Shul which are opposite the eyes of the people praying, due to it being a potential distraction to the concentration of the worshipers.[128] The same applies regarding pictures on the Paroches.[129] Nonetheless, if the congregation is already used to these drawings, then it is not neccessary to avoid them.[130] In all cases, it is forbidden to have in a Shul pictures of items that are known to be used for idolatry, even if this specific item was never worshipped.[131]

Practical custom: Practically, many Shuls of previous generations were accustomed to have pictures of animals and birds on the walls or Heichal, with some Rabbanim defending the custom, and others protesting against it.

Pictures of Tzaddikim hanging in Shul:[132] It is forbidden to place pictures of people in a Shul, even of Tzaddikim. This applies to anywhere within the sanctuary of the Shul.

 

May one make drawings of the forbidden forms in a Siddur or Chumash?

Some Poskim[133] rule it is permitted to do so. Other Poskim[134] rule it is forbidden to do so. Practically, if it is done for learning purpsoes, or one makes an icomplete figure, it is permitted to be done.[135] Nevertheless, it is proper not to make pictures in Siddurim that are used to Daven from due to that it distracts the person from concentrating on his prayer.[136] 

 

D. Signet Rings:[137]

A signet ring which has the [complete[138]] form of a human, if the form is protruding, then it is forbidden to wear it [or own it[139]] although is permitted to be used to sign with it [even onto a mold, which will cause an internal engraving[140]].[141] [However, other Poskim[142] rule it is forbidden to sign with this ring.] If the human form is an internal engraving, then it is permitted to [own it[143] and] wear it although it is forbidden to be used to sign with it [onto a mold] as it will create a protruding engraving.[144] [Some Poskim[145] however rule this prohibition only applies to signing and molding respectful items, such as a coin. However, it is permitted to sign on belittling items, such as a letter, even using a signet ring that has the full figure of a human internally engraved in it.] If a gentile signed with this internal engraving signet ring, it is forbidden to retain the stamp which now contains a protruding human form.[146] It is likewise forbidden to tell a gentile to sign with such a ring even if one does not plan to own the stamp.[147] The same applies to a signet ring that has the [complete[148]] form of any of the other forbidden forms.[149] [Thus, a signet ring that has the protruding form of an angel or the four faces of the chariot is forbidden to be worn or owned and is disputed if it may be used to sign on wax, while if it has an internal engraving it may be worn or owned and may not be signed on wax. A signet ring that has the form of the sun, moon, stars or constellations may not be used in any circumstance, and may only be owned if it contains internal engraving. Some Poskim however are lenient today to allow the owning of all sculptures, as explained in D!]

  _____________________________________________________________________________

[1] Michaber Y.D. 141/4; Rosh Hashanah 24a

[2] Shemos 20/20; Chinuch Mitzvah 331

[3] Michaber 141/4; Abayey in Avodas Kochavim 43b; Omitted in Rambam Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 3/11, see Kesef Mishneh there

[4] The reason: As the verse states “Lo Sasun Iti” which refers to those creatures that live with Me [Hashem]. [Shach 141/20; Rashi ibid]

[5] Shach 141/20 in second explanation; Rashi ibid

[6] Shach 141/20

Face of an ox versus baby: The Gemara Chagiga 12b states that Yichezkal came along and switched the face of an ox for the face of a Keruv, which would imply that the face of an ox is no longer part of the chariot. [Shach 141/20 in his first explanation] However, in truth, one can say that the face of the ox still remains part of the prohibition, being that it was on the chariot at the time that verse of prohibition was stated. [Shach 141/10 in his second explanation] At the same time however it is also forbidden to form the face of a baby, together with the other three faces of the adult/lion/eagle together.  [Shach ibid]

[7] Shach 141/20, 21, 30; Taz 141/7; Rashi ibid explains “for a single animal”, meaning that a single animal may not contain these four faces.

[8] Taz 141/7; Shach 141/21, 30; Semak 160; Ran

[9] Taz ibid; See Michaber 141/7

The reason: As in the chambers of the Shechina the four faces were complete with bodies. This is also proven from the fact the Ran and Semak ibid question why the Talmud implies that only four faces together are forbidden while in truth even man alone is forbidden, and they do not answer that here the prohibition refers to just the face, which is permitted by man. This proves that the entire case of the Talmud referred to making a body with the four faces and hence their question applied. [Taz ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the faces of the chariot did not have complete bodies and hence the prohibition applies even to simply making a headwhich contains the four faces. [Maharit Y.D. 2/35 in implication of question of Ran ibid who did not answer that a mere head of a human is allowed; brought in Gilyon Maharsha 141/7]

[10] Taz 141/7; Shach 141/21; Semak 160; Ran; Tosafus Avoda Zara 43a and Rosh Hashana 24

[11] Avoda Zara 43b; VeTzaruch Iyun why Chayos Hakodesh was not mentioned by Michaber ibid

[12] Michaber and Gemara ibid

[13] Taz ibid

[14] Michaber ibid; Avodas Zara 43b

[15] The reason: This is learned from the verse “Lo Sasus Iti” which is read Osi, do not make Me. Now, since Hashem at times appears like a human before the prophets therefore He prohibited making sculptures of the human body. [Shach 141/21; Taz 141/11; Avoda Zara 43b]

[16] Taz ibid

The reason: Although when one makes a human face without all three other faces there is room to argue that it should be permitted, as he has not made a lone human face and has also not made all four faces, nevertheless, it remains forbidden due to the human face which may not be made even individually. So is proven from the fact the Poskim did not write of such an allowance. Nevertheless, in the event that the sculpture was already made with one or two of the other faces it suffices to chip simply the human face and one is not required to chip the other faces. If, however all four faces were made then one would be required to chip all four faces. [Taz ibid]

[17] So is implied from Taz ibid, as the prohibition of human remains even when one adds more faces. Vetzaruch Iyun

[18] Shach 141/21 and Nekudos Hakesef in gloss on Taz ibid that the Rishonim discussed this matter; Ran; Tosafus Rosh Hashana 24; Ramach, brought in Shach ibid and Kesef Mishneh on Rambam Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 3/11

[19] Shach ibid; Tosafus ibid

[20] Michaber ibid and 141/5 regarding signature ring; Rosh; Tosafus; Avoda Zara ibid; Shach 141/25; Levush, brought in Shach ibid

[21] The reason: As the above items are seen in full, in a protruding method, and hence only when it is formed in a protruding method is it considered to be made “like above.” [Shach ibid]

[22] Ramban, brought in Tur 141; Ran in name of Rishonim that so is Ikkur and is implied from the Talmud, brought in Taz 141/12; Erech Lechem of Maharikash, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/34; Gr”a 141/21 and 24 in name of Rambam; Taz 141/12 concludes “It’s a wonderment that the Michaber omitted these opinions, and regarding Halacha, certainly one is not to be lenient against the Ramban, Tur and Ran”; Beir Heiytiv 141/19 in name of Taz; Darkei Teshuvah 141/34 in name of Erech Lechem [Maharikash], Vayakhel Shlomo, Chida and Zechor Leavraham, Rashi, Aruch; Radbaz; Sheilas Yaavetz 1/101, brought in Yad Efraim, refused to allow a picture to be made on a bill of currency, saying that it is forbidden; Yearos Devash 1/2, brought in Pischeiy teshuvah 141/7 severly warns against having even pictures of these forms, even though from the letter of the law it is permitted; Chochmas Adam; Misgeres Hashulchan on Kitzur SHU”A 168/1 concludes one is to be stringent; See Ran brought in Darkei Moshe 141/4 that by Madur Elyon both protruding and internal are forbidden while by Madur Tachton only protruding forms are forbidden; See Teshuvas Lechem Rav 15, brought in Gilyon Maharsha 141/4

[23] The reason: As any of the forms that the Torah prohibited due to “Lo Sasun Iti” of the supernal worlds [i.e. Madur Elyon] and lower worlds are forbidden to be made whether in a protruding or internal method, and only regarding the Rabbinically prohibited forms is there a difference between a protruding or internal method. [Ramban, brought in Taz ibid] 

[24] Taz ibid; Chochmas Adam; Misgeres Hashulchan on Kitzur SHU”A 168/1

[25] Darkei Moshe 141/5 in name of Mordechai Bava Basra 549 and Avoda Zara 840 in name of Maharam; Taz 141/13 “Seemingly a drawing/painting is more lenient than even an internal engraving, [and is thus permitted]”; Kneses Yechezkal 13, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/6; Yad Efraim 141 “According to majority of Poskim making a drawing is permitted”; Kneses Hagedola 141/67, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/47

[26] The reason: As a mere drawing cannot be defined as a sculpture/Pesel in any way as was never included in the prohibition against making the forms of Madur Elyon or Madur Tachton. A Pesel is something that is engraved or a sculpture, and hence a mere drawing is not included in the prohibition of Shkas, which is an internal engraving. [Darkei Moshe ibid in name of Mordechaiy and Maharam]

[27] Shach 141 in Nekudos Hakesef on Taz 141/13 “it is completely incorrect to suggest a difference between a  drawing and an internal engraving, as is implied from all the Poskim”; Divrei Yosef 8 in implication of Rambam, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/8; Sheilas Yaavetz 1/101, brought in Yad Efraim, refused to allow a picture to be made on a bill of currency, saying that it is forbidden; Vayakhel Shlomo, Lechem Rav 15, Divrei Malkiel 3/58 in name of Rashba and Ritva that a drawing is considered Boletes, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/34-35; Beis Shlomo Y.D. 1/36 brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/36, that a painting on a vessel is considered Boletes; Chochmas Adam; Misgeres Hashulchan on Kitzur SHU”A 168/1 concludes one is to be stringent; Yearos Devash 1/2, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/7 severly warns against having even pictures of these forms, even though from the letter of the law it is permitted; Dvar Shmuel 247, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/29, protests against making pictures of angels due  to sacrilege;

[28] Michaber 141/4; Rambam

[29] Shach 141/22 based on Girsa in Sefarim Yisheinim; Taz 141/8 in Girsa of Michaber ibid

[30] Shach 141/17, 23, 29; Kitzur SHU”A 168/1; Neharei Afarsamon Y.D. 116-118; Yad Elazar 129; Darkei Teshuvah 141/32

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to ask a gentile to make a sculpture of forbidden forms, as by a sin on an item there is no Shlichus. [Chasam Sofer Y.D. 128 based on Beis Meir E.H. 5, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/32]

[31] The reason: As the prohibition of Amira Lenachri applies reagridng all prohibitions, and not just Shabbos. [Shach ibid; Beis Shmuel 5/16; Beir Hagoleh; Admur 243/1; 343/5; 450/20; Ribis 72; Sheila Usechirus 29; Michaber C.M. 338/6 [regarding muzzling animal]; Question brought in Bava Metzia 90a and above Poskim rule stringently-see Biur Hagr”a 5/32]

[32] Shach 141/27

[33] Michaber 141/4; Shach 141/26 that this allowance applies whether to make or own

[34] Chasam Sofer Y.D 128, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/30; See there that he can make the sculpture incomplete and then ask a gentile to finish it off.

[35] Michaber 141/4

[36] This refers to a circle which resembles the sun, as will be expaliedn in D!

[37] Shach 141/30; Taz 141/13; Bach 141; Tur 141

[38] Bach 141 brought in Shach ibid; Seeming conclusion of Taz 141/13

[39] The reason: As the lion is the sole constellation in the month of Av, and the ox is the sole constellation in the month of Iyar, and the fish is the sole constellation in the month of Adar. [Taz and Bach ibid]

[40] Shach 141/30 “We have never heard of anyone being careful in this matter, as it is only forbidden to make the 12 constellations together, and not individually.”; Implication of Michaber 141/6; Rashba 167; Shiltei Giborim; implication of Tosafus Avoda Zara 43

[41] The reason: This is simialr to the prohibition against forming the four faces of the chariot, in which case the prohibition only applies when done all together. [Shach ibid]

[42] Michaber 141/1; Rambam 3; Rabbeinu Efraim in Mordechai; Ran; Taz 141/12

[43] Shach 141/31                                                     

[44] Shach 141/30 “We have never heard of anyone being careful in this matter.”; implication of Michaber ibid; Rashba 167; Shiltei Giborim; implication of Tosafus Avoda Zara 43

[45] The reason: As it is only forbidden to make the 12 constellations together, and not individually. [Shach ibid]

[46] Bach 141; Taz 141/13

[47] The reason: As these animals are part of the 12 constellations, as the lion is represented in the month of Av and the ox in the month of Iyar. [Bach 141 brought in Shach ibid]

[48] Baiy Chayi Yoreh Deah 175, brought in Yad Efraim 141/6 and Darkei Teshuvah 141/47; Darkei Teshuvah 141/34 and 47 in name of Rashi, Aruch; Radbaz 107; Mabit 1/30; Maharit, Ran, Chida in Siyurei Bracha end of 142 that one is to suspect for above opinions, Zechoir Leavraham who rule that all forms are forbidden

[49] Igros Moshe Y.D. 2/55

[50] Taz 141/14 in name of Hagahos Ashri, in name of Rabbeinu Elyakim; Avkas Rochel 63 [unlike his ruling in Beis Yosef]; Maharit 2/35; Mabit 1/30; Radbaz 4/1178; Birkeiy Yosef 141; Beis Lechem Yehuda 141/11; Darkei Teshuvah 141/48 in name of Maharash Heller of Tzefas; Beis Shlomo 1/128; Dvar Moshe 1/8; Beis David Hasefaradi 5; Neta Shoreik 46; Aruch Hashulchan 90/28; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 90/29

Other opinions: Some Poskim negate the above stringency and allow making the above forms even in Shul. [Beis Yosef 141; Machaneh Chaim Y.D. 2/29 defends the practice and concludes G-d forbid to state that the previous generations were transgressors”; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2/55]

[51] Taz 141/12; Ran

[52] Michaber ibid; Tur in name of Rabbeinu Tam; Tosafus Avoda Zara ibid in name of Riy, Rabbeinu Tam and Riva; Shach 141/25; Kitzur SHU”A 168/1

Other opinions: See Ran brought in Darkei Moshe 141/4 that by Madur Elyon both protruding and internal are forbidden while by Madur Tachton only protruding forms are forbidden.

[53] The reason: As these items do not appear in the sky as protruding and hence their prohibition applies even when made in a non-protruding method. [Shach ibid; Taz 141/13] See alternative reason mentioned in Levush 141 and the questions of Shach ibid against his explanation.

[54] Darkei Moshe 141/5 in name of Mordechai Bava Basra 549 and Avoda Zara 840 in name of Maharam; Taz 141/13 “Seemingly a drawing/painting is more lenient than even an internal engraving, [and is thus permitted]”; Kneses Yechezkal 13, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/6; Yad Efraim 141 “According to majority of Poskim making a drawing is permitted”; Kneses Hagedola 141/67, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/47

[55] The reason: As a mere drawing cannot be defined as a sculpture/Pesel in any way and was never included in the prohibition against making the forms of Madur Elyon or Madur Tachton. A Pesel is something that is engraved or a sculpture, and hence a mere drawing is not included in the prohibition of Shkas, which is an internal engraving. [Darkei Moshe ibid in anme of Mordechaiy and Maharam]

[56] Implication of Michaber ibid that drawing is forbidden, as it makes no difference if it is protruding or not; Shach 141 in Nekudos Hakesef on Taz 141/13 “it is completely incorrect to suggest a difference between a  drawing and an internal engraving, as is implied from all the Poskim”; Divrei Yosef 8 in implication of Rambam, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/8; Sheilas Yaavetz 1/101, brought in Yad Efraim, refused to allow a picture to be made on a bill of currency, saying that it is forbidden; Vayakhel Shlomo, Lechem Rav 15, Divrei Malkiel 3/58 in name of Rashba and Ritva that a drawing is considered Boletes, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/34-35; Beis Shlomo Y.D. 1/36 brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/36, that a painting on a vessel is considered Boletes; Chochmas Adam; Misgeres Hashulchan 168/2 on Kitzur SHU”A 168/1 concludes one is to be stringent

[57] Implication of Michaber ibid that drawing is forbidden, as it makes no difference if it is protruding or not;

[58] Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid; Misgeres Hashulchan ibid

[59] Michaber 141/4; Shach 141/26 that this allowoance applies whether to make or own

[60] Chasam Sofer Y.D 128, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/30; See there that he can make the sculpture incomplete and then ask a gentile to finish it off.

[61] Shach 141/27

[62] Michaber 141/4 regarding Madur Elyon

[63] Shach 141/22 and Taz 141/8 regarding Madur Elyon

[64] Shach 141/17 and 23 regarding Madur Elyon; Kitzur SHU”A 168/1; Neharei Afarsamon Y.D. 116-118; Yad Elazar 129; Darkei Teshuvah 141/32

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to ask a gentile to make a sculpture of forbidden forms, as by a sin on an item there is no Shlichus. [Chasam Sofer Y.D. 128 based on Beis Meir E.H. 5, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/32]

[65] The reason: As the prohibition of Amira Lenachri applies reagridng all prohibitions, and not just Shabbos. [Shach ibid; Beis Shmuel 5/16; Beir Hagoleh; Admur 243/1; 343/5; 450/20; Ribis 72; Sheila Usechirus 29; Michaber C.M. 338/6 [regarding muzzling animal]; Question brought in Bava Metzia 90a and above Poskim rule stringently-see Biur Hagr”a 5/32]

[66] Yad Haketana 2/3, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/46

[67] Michaber 141/7

[68] Rosh; Tur; Rabbeinu Yerucham

Other opinions: See continuation!

[69] Michaber ibid

[70] Rama ibid

[71] Shach 141/25

[72] Semag Lavin 32 brought in Shach 141/32; Taz 141/15 in name of Perisha, in name of Rashal, who brings in name of Semag that he is stringent even with a mere head; Maharit Y.D. 2/35 in implication of question of Ran ibid who did not answer that a mere head of a human is allowed; brought in Birkeiy Yosef 141 and Gilyon Maharsha 141/7; Kneses Hagedola 141/22, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/40 and 50; Yaavetz 1/170, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/10 rules that even according to the Rosh, only a plain face without eyes and without a body is valid, however a body with a face  is invalid even if it does not have eyes, and likewise a face with eyes and a nose is invalid even without a body; Yaavetz 2/104, brought in Yad Efraim 151/4; Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid; Rav Poalim 4/10, in name of many Rishonim who argue on the opinions brought in Michaber ibid

[73] Shach 141/32; Shelah p. 73b, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/11

[74] Rav Poalim 4/10

[75] Shach 141/25; See Neharei Afarsamon Y.D. 118, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/40, for novelty of Shach

[76] Taz 141/7

[77] Darkei Teshuvah 141/37; See however Darkei Teshuvah 141/51 in name of Makor Mayim Chaim, Pnei Yehoshua and Mishnas Chachamim that even half a circle is forbidden by a sun. Vetzaruch Iyun!

[78] Mahram Alshich 77, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/38

[79] Mahram Alshich 77, Livyas Chein Parshas Bo, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/38

[80] Maharit Y.D. 2/35; Shoel Umeishiv Kama 3/71; Amudei Eish 16; Darkei Teshuvah 141/37-38 and 51 in name of Makor Mayim Chaim, Pnei Yehoshua and Mishnas Chachamim

[81] The Yaavetz writes that his father the Chacham Tzevi refused the Amsterdam communities request to make a drawing of him, even though most Poskim rule it is permitted to do so with a mere drawing, and it is not a complete figure and rather just his face, he nevertheless refused. Nevertheless, the community did not relinquish from their desire and secretly made a perfect drawing of his father when he was not noticing, and this painting was later published in the multitudes. [Sheilas Yaavetz 1/101, brought in Yad Efraim 141/4] Divrei Malkiel 3/58, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/34, protested against making pictures of even Gedolei Yisrael due to the prohibition of making a human form, as well as that according to Kabalah, a spirit of impurity resides on pictures , and by having a picture of a Tzaddik one causes impurity to reside on it.

[82] See Sichas 1950/51, 67

[83] See Sichas 1950/51, 67; Igros Kodesh [Rayatz] 12/86 [send picture to a Chasid]; Igros Kodesh 3/81; 11/162 and 12/266 [against fears]; Heichal Menachem 3/242 [To place by chair of Mila]

[84] As a) Some Poskim rule a mere drawing is permitted. b) One is not actually drawing the picture and is simply having the camera do so for him based on his command. Now, although this is a classical case of Kocho, which is forbidden, nevertheless, when added to the previous reason it seemingly carries greater leniency.

[85] See Halacha C; See Yaavetz 1/170 [or 101], brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/10 and Yad Efraim 141/4, forbade the minting of coins with a face on them; See Bava Kama 97b regarding the “coin of Avraham Avinu” which had faces on the front/back.

[86] Maharit 2/35; Yechaveh Daas 3/64; However, see Yabia Omer 3/8

[87] The reason: As it is made for mere amusement. [ibid]

[88] Yechaveh Daas 3/64

[89] Michaber and Rama 141/7 as brought above

[90] Rav Poalim 4/10

[91] Maharit 2/35; Yaavetz 2/104, brought in Birkeiy Yosef 141, Yad Efraim 141/4; Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid; Rav Poalim 4/10, in name of many Rishonim who argue on the opinions brought in Michaber ibid; See Baiy Chayeh Y.D. 175 in name of Radbaz 107 and Mabit 1/30, brought in Yad Efraim 141

[92] Baiy Chayeh Y.D. 175, brought in Yad Efraim 141

[93] Michaber 141/4

[94] Taz 141/12 in name of Ramban

[95] Michaber ibid regarding sculpture of the four faces of the chariot; human and angels.

The reason: As people may come to suspect the person. [Shach 141/23; Taz 141/9] This means that he may be suspected to be worshiping the sculpture. [Taz ibid; Perisha 141/35; Haemek Sheila 57/3 in name of most Rishonim] Some say this means he may be suspected to have transgressed and made the sculpture. [Gr”a 141/21]

[96] Shach 141/24; See Taz 141/10; Implication of Tur

[97] Michaber ibid “Such as the sun or moon”; Vetzaruch Iyun if this applies even today when the common folk no longer worship these items.

[98] Michaber ibid

[99] Taz 141/12

[100] Shach 141/24; Taz 141/10; Implication of Tur

[101] Haemek Sheila [Netziv on Sheilasos] 57/3; Nachal Eshkol Avoda Zara 50, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/31

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to own a human sculpture even if it is not customarily worshiped any longer. [Beis David 74, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/32; Maharit 2/35, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44] Some Poskim rule the entire allowance of owning when there is no Chashad only applies to Madurei Tachton, while Madurei Elyon may never be owned even by the public. [Erech Hashulchan 141/8, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44]

[102] Haemek Sheila ibid; Yabia Omer 3/8; Yechaveh Daas 3/64; Halichos Olam 7/282

[103] Taz 141/12; Ran and Ramban, brought in Tur 141 and Taz ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that according to the Ramban who prohibits even drawings of the forbidden forms, it is forbidden even to own it. [Bach 141] The Taz ibid negates his opinion, as explicitly brought in the Ran, who holds like the Ramban.

[104] The reason: As owning the form is merely Rabbincially prohibited due to suspicion of idolatry, which mainly applies by a protruding sculpture. [Taz ibid]

[105] Michaber 141/4; Shach 141/26 that this allowance applies whether to make or own.

[106] Rama 141/4

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the figure of a human may never be owned even by the public. [Maharit 2/35, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44] Other Poskim rule the entire allowance of owning only applies to Madurei Tachton, while Madurei Elyon may never be owned even by the public. [Erech Hashulchan 141/8, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44]

[107] Tur 141 in name of Rosh

[108] Shach 141/27

[109] The reason: As public owning does not give off suspicion that they are doing so for purpsoes of idolatry. [Shach ibid; See Gilyon Maharsha 141/4] See Darkei Teshuvah 141/45 that this allowance refers to placing the figure in a public area.

[110] Shach ibid in name of Rabbeinu Yerucham

[111] Shach ibid in name of Rabbeinu Yerucham; Beis Yosef in Bedek Habayis; Chasam Sofer 6/4

[112] See Darkei Teshuvah 141/32 that so is custom

The reason: As a) it is not full figure; and b) It is not used for idolatry.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may not own coins that contain the engraving of a human figure. [See Beis David 74, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/32; See Yaavetz 1/170 [or 101], brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/10 and Yad Efraim 141/4, forbade the minting of coins with a face on them;]

[113] Michaber 141/4

[114] Maharit 2/35; Haemek Sheila [Netziv on Sheilasos] 57/3; Yabia Omer 3/8; Yechaveh Daas 3/64; Halichos Olam 7/282

The reason: As some Poskim [Maharit 2/35] rule the prohibition against making human sculptures does not apply regarding toys, and hence certainly it may be owned. Furthermore, even if one were to rule that it is forbidden to make even toy sculptures it is nevertheless permitted being that the Biblical prohibition is only against making the items while owning is merely Rabbinical due to suspicion, and hence today being the suspicion that one may be using it as idolatry no longer applies, it is permitted to own even those items that are forbidden to make. [Haemek Sheila [Netziv on Sheilasos] 57/3] 

[115] The reason: As some Poskim [Michaber and Rama 141/7] rule the prohibition against making human sculptures does not apply to a mere head, and only applies when making a head with a body. Furthermore, even according to those Poskim who are stringent, that is only regarding making a sculpture of the head, however owning it is permitted even in their opinion being that today the suspicion that one may be using it as idolatry no longer applies. [Haemek Sheila [Netziv on Sheilasos] 57/3] 

[116] See Beis David 74, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/32; Maharit 2/35, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44; Erech Hashulchan 141/8, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44; All Poskim who are stringent regarding owning coins and Menorah

[117] Haemek Sheila [Netziv on Sheilasos] 57/3 in previous Q&A!

[118] Michaber and Rama 141/7; Birkeiy Yosef 141 in name of of Beis David Y.D. 75 that if there is only a head, the age old custom is like the Michaber ibid even though some Poskim argue

[119] Maharit 2/35; Yaavetz 2/104, brought in Birkeiy Yosef 141, Yad Efraim 141/4; Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid; Rav Poalim 4/10, in name of many Rishonim who argue on the opinions brought in Michaber ibid; See Baiy Chayeh Y.D. 175 in name of Radbaz 107 and Mabit 1/30, brought in Yad Efraim 141; Darkei Teshuvah 141/50 in name of of Poskim that one must damage the form until it is no longer recognizable.

[120] Baiy Chayeh Y.D. 175, brought in Yad Efraim 141

[121] See Darkei Teshuvah 141/48; Piskeiy Teshuvos 90/29; Having pictures of items in a Shul enters into three Halachic issues: 1) Prohibition of making or owning forbidden forms. 2) It looks like one is bowing down to the item. 3) It distracts the people praying.

[122] Kneses Yechezkal 13, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/6

[123] The reason: As a) If it it is a drawing and not an engraving, some Poskim rule it is permitted by all forms. b) The public may own a forbidden form that was engraved. [ibid]

[124] Elya Raba 90/27; Mabit 1/30, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44; P”M 90 M”Z 6; Divrei Yosef 8, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/8; Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid concludes that it is best to be stringent; Beis David Haefaradi Y.D. 5, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/44; See Zera Emes 3/105

[125] The reason: As Chashad applies in a Shul which is a place designated for worship. [ibid]

[126] Taz 141/14 in name of Hagahos Ashri, in name of Rabbeinu Elyakim; Avkas Rochel 63 that the words of Rav Elyakim is Ikkur [unlike his ruling in Beis Yosef]; Maharit 2/35 regarding the protruding figure of a lion on a stone of the Heichal, brought in Beis Lechem Yehuda 141; Radak; Maharam Padva 65; Radbaz 4/1178; Birkeiy Yosef 141; See Beis Lechem Yehuda 141/11 who writes that perhaps this only applies by the Mizrach of the Shul which people face and bow towards. The same would apply to any wall that people bow towards. Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid concludes that many Shuls are lenient in this matter and they do not have upon whom to rely; Darkei Teshuvah 141/48 in name of Maharash Heller of Tzefas; Beis Shlomo 1/128; Dvar Moshe 1/8; Beis David Hasefaradi 5; Neta Shoreik 46; Aruch Hashulchan 90/28; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 90/29

Other opinions: The Beis Yosef 141 negates this opinion of Rav Elyakim, however in his Shut Avkas Rochel he later rules like him. [Birkeiy Yosef 141]

[127] Beis Yosef 141; Machaneh Chaim Y.D. 2/29 defends the practice and concludes G-d forbid to state that the previous generations were transgressors”; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2/55; See Darkei Teshuvah and Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[128] Admur 90/22; M”A 90/37 “Is forbidden”

[129] Admur ibid

[130] See Kneses Yechezkal 13, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141/6

[131] Admur ibid regarding Divrei Tiflus; Rama 90/23; See Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid

[132] See Taz ibid; Divrei Malkiel 6/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 90/29; See Tzitz Eliezer 19/8; Or Letziyon 2/87-11

[133] Shach in Nekudos Hakesef 141 on Taz 141/13

[134] Taz 141/13; Lechem Rav 15, brought in Gilyon Maharsha 141/4; Dvar Shmuel 247, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 141/29

[135] Shach ibid

[136] Admur 90/22

[137] Michaber 141/5; Rambam Avodas Kochavim 3/11; Avoda Zara 43

[138] See Halacha C!

[139] Shach 141/28

[140] Shach 141/28

[141] The reason: It is forbidden to be owned due to Chashad/suspicion. [Shach 141/28]

[142] See Halacha A that there are stringent opinions who prohibit making even internal engravings of a human.

[143] Shach 141/28

[144] Michaber ibid; This applies even according to the stringent opinion in A who prohibits making even internal engravings of a human, as everyone agrees that owning an internal engraving is permitted. [Taz 141/12; Ran and Ramban, brought in Tur 141 and Taz ibid]

[145] Tiferes Lemoshe, brought in Pischeiy teshuvah 141/9, based on Tur 141 in name of Ramban and Perisha

[146] Rama ibid; Implciation of Mordechai and Tosafus

The reason: This is forbidden due to Chashad/suspicion, and as explained in Michaber 141/4 that one may not own a forbidden form even if made by a gentile. [Shach 141/29]

[147] Shach ibid and 141/17 and 23

The reason: As the prohibition of Amira Lenachri applies reagridng all prohibitions, and not just Shabbos. [Shach ibid; Beis Shmuel 5/16; Beir Hagoleh; Admur 243/1; 343/5; 450/20; Ribis 72; Sheila Usechirus 29; Michaber C.M. 338/6 [regarding muzzling animal]; Question brought in Bava Metzia 90a and above Poskim rule stringently-see Biur Hagr”a 5/32]

[148] See Halacha C!

[149] Rama ibid; Tur; Ran in name of Rif

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

/* "); /* ]]> */