[Avodah] Shituf (was: seen on Facebook)

Meir Shinnar chidekel at xgmail.com
Wed Jan 9 01:39:30 PST 2013

> :> On 1/7/2013 10:15 AM, Meir Shinnar wrote:
> :>> However, there is a major (? Dominant) strand of halachic thinking
> :>> that does not view Christianity as avoda Zara for nonJews

> Coincidentally (if your beliefs about hashgachah allows room for that
> idea), R' Neustadt... just had a shiur on this posted to Torah.org.
> <http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5772/bo.html>...
>         Christianity, however, combines the belief in G-d with other
>    idolatrous and alien beliefs. Such a theology is called avodah zarah
>    b'shituf (in combination). Some poskim rule that avodah zarah b'shituf
>    is not considered full-fledged avodah zarah[5], while others maintain
>    that it is[6].
>    5. Rama, O.C. 156 according to Pischei Teshuvah, Y.D. 147:2;
>    Mor u'Ketziah 224; Sho'el u'Meishiv, Tanina 1:51; Seder Mishnah,
>    Yesodei ha-Torah 1:7.

>    6. Noda b'Yehudah, Tanina, Y.D. 148; Sha'ar Efrayim 24, quoting the
>    Chelkas Mechokek; Peri Megadim, Y.D. 65:45; Teshuvos Chasam Sofer,
>    O.C. 84. See Mishnah Berurah 304:4.
> Notice though that shituf is not an alternative concept to AZ. Rather,
> it's a type of AZ that is permissable to Benei Noach. For a Jew to
> perform the rite to accomodate a Ben Noach would be assur, because for
> the Jew AZ beshituf is still within the issurim of AZ.

I am not arguing that Christianity is not AZ for Jews. Rather, that there
are major poskim who say it is not AZ for nonJews (saying it is an AZ that
is permitted to nonJews seems, IMHO, a strange way of putting it), and
this means not only that we don×t have to treat it and its followers as
AZ, but that we are actually allowed to do actions that assist & enhance
their religion ( eg, sell crosses, sell them before their holiday, etc).

Therefore, the question that arises is the boundary between such
assistance to their worship & actually doing what would be AZ for me
-- and remember some actions (not all) of AZ are sometimes permitted
if the intent is not for AZ. The original issue discussed was of a
Jewish chaplain assisting Christian patients with their worship -- &
the discussion had assumed automatically it is assur & Avoda Zara -
while I think the distinction between what the chaplain does & the 47th
merchants do is quite subtle & not obviously assur, & worthy of more
serious analysis - with grounds to go either way (while not presuming
to give an actual psak)

(a similar issue is for Jewish musicians who play professionally in
Christian services - & I know some who got a heter...)

Meir Shinnar

More information about the Avodah mailing list