The laws of the prohibition of idolatry.
1. The laws of the prohibitions of the objects of idolatry were already discussed in Parshas Vayishlach, here we will talk about the prohibitions against the idolatry itself and against following instigators and false prophets.
2. The Torah strictly forbids us to believe in any other god, except for One, True God – the Creator of the universe. Even a if person believes in the Creator but also supposes that there are other powers beyond His control, such a person is breaking the severe prohibition against idolatry. Even if he worships the idol simply as a superstition or just in case it could “also” help or so that it doesn’t hurt him, this is also breaking the prohibition of idolatry.
3. In the old times and also today in many religions of the East, the idol worshippers believe that there exists the “Main God, the Creator of the world”, but they also worship various lower powers in order to bring down the spiritual energy. All these types of religions are forbidden for a Jew under penalty of death. Similarly, Christianity is a version of idolatry and a Jew is required to give up his life rather than convert, (our ancestors fulfilled this command in millions throughout history). Such groups as Jews for Jesus claim that it is possible to remain a Jew and still accept the Christian doctrine. This is an obvious lie – the Jews for Jesus believe in the same idolatry as the rest of Protestant Christians and even if they were to keep all other commandments of the Torah, a Jew would still have to give up his life rather than convert to their religion.
4. Some people have a specific talent to be able to predict, in some cases, some future events. In theory, this talent exists just like other spiritual talents, for example – correct dream interpretation. Throughout history, people with this talent often used it inventing new religions and leading many followers after themselves. The Torah tells us that even a person who performed many tricks that seem like miracles to us, and predicted the future correctly many times, if he now entices us to worship idols, we are forbidden to listen to him. In the times of our Supreme Court – the Sanhedrin, this kind of person was punished by death. In our day, we do not have a possibility of executing the evildoers, but even today we have to keep away from such people. We should not argue with them and we should ignore all their predictions. The miracles that our nation experienced are different from all the “miracles” that are done by various sorcerers and false prophets. Never in history did a whole nation claim to have heard “the voice from Heaven” as our nation did. This is why no religion in the world ever started spontaneously as our religion did, and the Torah tells us that there will never be a nation that will claim such a Divine revelation. All other religions start from talented deceivers and even if they are able to lead many people after themselves, our people will ignore them and remain loyal to the Torah.
The laws of the prohibition against mixing milk and meat products.
1. The Torah forbids us to cook the meat and the milk of kosher domestic animals together. If the meat and milk were cooked together, we can not derive any benefit from this food, for example – feed it to animals. The Torah’s prohibition does not apply if the meat or the milk comes from a bird or wild animal, for this reason one can cook the deer’s meat with cow’s milk or with deer’s milk. Similarly, the meat of chicken can be cooked with any milk. However, the Rabbis prohibited eating any kosher meat with milk, but one is allowed only to cook and derive enjoyment from such mixtures.
2. The custom of most Jews is not to eat dairy products within the six hours after eating food that has meat ingredients. However, in some communities the custom is to wait only three hours or one hour. Young children and some old people, who need to eat dairy products often, are usually permitted to wait only one hour between meat and milk products.
3. One is allowed to eat meat products immediately after eating dairy as long as he washed hands and mouth and ate something parve in between. However , most people do wait at least half an hour between dairy and meat. The one who ate old hard cheese should preferably wait six hours before eating meat products, since the cheese often gets stuck between the teeth.
4. Obviously it is forbidden to cook meat and milk products in the same dishes. Moreover, even a food that is neither dairy nor meat (parve) that was cooked in a pot where meat was cooked within the last 24 hours, can not be eaten together with milk and vice versa. Some people therefore keep a third kind of vessels and knifes – especially for parve products.
5. One should not use the same table cloth when eating meat and milk. The best advice is to have special placemats, for example for milk products. The righteous people have even separate saltshakers for dairy and meat products.
6. There are various complicated laws regarding dairy food that accidentally got mixed with meat, as well as the laws of meat that was cooked in a milk pot or vice versa. These detailed laws are beyond the scope of the current book, in each case this happens one needs to consult a Rabbi.