Thoughts from a Jew
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Is it okay for a religious Jew to study other religions? Is having books of other religions on the shelf, the same as having idols in your house?
Tags: Jews, Religions
If you ask Rabbenu Dor ben Moishe, you’re not even allowed to be aware of other religions 🙂
I see two opinions.
On one hand there’s this opinion:
About having things such as the “new” testamente on your bookshelf, does it not say “that anything forbidden must not cleave to your hand”, which Chazal has interpreted to mean that a Jew must not aqquire an idolatrous object or article. We could “kal ve-chomer” this, and say that if merely owning a idolatrous object is forbidden how much more so is a Jew forbidden to study it!
This is of course the stringent opinion (which I personally follow).
Another, more leinent opinion, could be as follows:
Since you’re actively participating in actual idolworship or worshiping the books themselves (and we’re not concerned that studying the idolatrous works will turn you into an idolworshipper), there’s no problem.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if it’s well in H’s eyes that you study them.
By the way, since Islam is not classified as avodah zarah, I don’t believe there’s a problem studying that.
Lot’s of brochos,
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