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More Than Meets The Eye
Wed, 02/05/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi David Wolpe

Idolatry is alluring. An idol is something one can touch and feel and is made with human hands. Although idols in antiquity traditionally represented forces beyond themselves, they were still the visible, tangible symbols to which people clung and to which they prayed.

Judaism entered the world insisting that the greatest reality was intangible. What we create is a pale reflection of the true creation. Things we fashion ourselves are worthy of respect, at times astonishment, but nothing we make can be worthy of worship.

This has always been a challenge for Jews. It is not easy to pray without an image in one’s mind; the golden calf was not only a seduction in ancient times but still remains so today. We are sensual creatures, we like things we can see and taste and touch. Still, deep in our souls lives the intuition that the greatest reality is what cannot be seen. Behind the veil of phenomena is an eternal, inexplicable, non-physical truth that we call God. Idolatry will never entirely disappear. People will always succumb to reverence for things. So the Jewish message is as countercultural and powerful as ever: If you only see what is visible, you are blind. There is so much more.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe.

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Thank you for bringing the truth into the light and pointing out failure of G_d’s people. Idols are Money, Food, I Phone, Smartphone, PlayStation, Telephone, Home shopping Networks, Sport games, Sport Cars and etc... Because of Idolatry in the 21th century G_D has been put in the back seat not only Jews and Christians, but also our leaders too. May God have mercy on us all. "How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away, and because people said, “He is blind to our ways" (Jeremiah 12:4
New Revised Standard Version).

Picture perfect.

The idolatry of cars is something popular these days.

Thank you so much for sharing your insight. "If you only see what is visible, you are blind. There is so much more." In this statement alone is a ton of wisdom.

I understand that the Torah is a holy book, containing our history and traditions. The Torah is the soul of Judaism. And Torah should be our priority. But why do we kiss the Torah? Isn't this idolatry? Are we treating the Torah like an idol?

Thanks. I totally agree. May i add that the Christian message is, also aiming to allure the people from stuff veneration, to the Lord adoration, in this world and the one to come?

So true. There is beauty in your message Rabbi, thank you.

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