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    Sculptures – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. What is the religious opinion of sculptured heads? Are they considered to be idols?

    A. Sculpture has been the least popular form of art among Jews because making a representation of anything in the heavens, on the earth or in the sea was prohibited by the Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4; compare Deut. 4:16-19). There was a real fear that images would be worshipped, which would totally contradict the rule that only God is to be worshipped, and that He has and can have no physical form.

    When Jews lived in a Christian environment in which icons were part of religion, they heard the argument that such figures were merely symbolic and not themselves worshipped, but they remained unimpressed. Judaism allows no representation of God; figures of the entire human body are also not permitted, though it is allowed to sculpt part of the body, e.g. the head (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 141).

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