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Man-made religions / events with family & friends

Am I correct in thinking that I can be present during certain religious services as long as I don't participate? I have relatives who often invite us to events such as baptisms and events they have which commemorate some saint. In terms of participation, I am thinking of active participation such as being the godmother to the baby, laying flowers, etc which I actually would not want to do.

I was thinking it's okay because Naaman still had to perform certain functions for his master, though I am really not in that certain type of position.

Thank you,

Thank you for your question Carmina! Your post was moved into the proper thread, on this subject. Please see post #2 above by Rabbi Yitz, and post #10 above by Rabbi Weiner. Those answers address questions about celebrations at home or at work, that (1) one could attend but decline to participate, or (2) one could participate with others if the general intention of those involved is only to practice something that has become a secularized custom, and is not being observed as a service to an idol.

- If it is a service that includes dedication and worship to an idol, in a house that is dedicated to the worship of the idol, officiated by a priest of the idol, one should not participate, and ideally should not attend.
- If one's refusal to attend that type of service will cause serious anger and bad feelings from family or friends, there is permission for a Gentile to attend, but not to participate in the service.
- If the event is located there, but there is no actual service or worship to the idol involved, a Gentile can attend and even participate, if refusing to do so cause will cause serious anger and bad feelings from family or friends.

Please see the referenced chapters in "The Divine Code," vol. 1, where these guidelines are explained in detail.

I'm very close to a six year old boy. His mother (my friend) secularly celebrates xmas. We also celebrate Chanukah with him. She sets up an artificial xmas tree every year. This year he wants a real tree and wants to know if he can set it up in my house. Is this going to be considered idolatrous in any way?

Since you have your own home, you should tell him that you don't celebrate that holiday, and therefore you've already decided not to have any xmas tree or xmas decorations in your house.
I'm 50 years old, and my mother is 70. I visit her at her house most Sundays. This time of year, she usually asks me (her oldest son) to help decorate her tree and her yard by putting up colored lights on the fence.
How should I deal with this?
Colored lights on the fence: with a string of enough lights, you could spell out some positive message on the fence for passersby, like "HAVE A NICE DAY" or "DO A GOOD DEED" or "DRIVE SAFELY" etc.

Decorating the tree: you could make other appointments or plans for those Sundays this time of year, so you only have time to visit until she asks you to do that, and then you could look at the clock and excuse yourself because you have to make it to the appointment. Or you could use all of your available time up until the appointment putting up those lights on the fence with the positive message spelled out.
(12-12-2012, 09:45 AM)Kat450 Wrote: Also I noticed that name that's included in the name of the holiday. Should I try to refrain from saying any word with that name in it?

It's not forbidden to just say the actual name of the holiday, if one is just referring to the holiday itself. This is explained in "The Divine Code", Part 2.
Quote:I have a question about Halloween. I read in "The Divine Code" that traditions that used to be pagan, but are now observed for secular reasons and have lost all religious significance, are OK for Gentiles to celebrate. Does this apply to Halloween?

Regarding participation in secularized Holloween activities:

For those Gentiles who view it as entirely secularized and no longer of any religious significance to them, participating in Holloween activities does not seem to be a problem in regard to the Noahide prohibitions of idolatrous practices or taking on a religious holiday.

In this generation, Holloween has devolved into a lot of decadence, which of course is highly commercialized. Some common contemporary problems associated with Holloween activities are:
1) immodest costumes
2) wild parties involving heavy drinking and/or promiscuous behavior
3) acts of vandalism

As long as the person will certainly stay clear of those problems, I don't think it's forbidden. But on the other hand, celebration of Holloween is not in line with pious Noahide behavior.
Is visiting memorials with flowers forbidden as idol worshipping?
There is no problem for Gentiles to visit memorials (in general) that are out in the open, with flowers or otherwise.

Visting memorials or anything else inside a house of idol worship is problematic, and should only be considered if there is some overriding specific need to do so on a temprorary basis. This is explained on Part 2 of "The Divine Code," on The Prohibition of Idol Worship.

For examplem if the memorial is made specifically for honor or commenoration of some type of idol or idolatrous religion, it should be avoided unless there is some overriding need: for example, if a student of art or architecture needs to view its craftsmanship as a requirement for his/her education degree or trade.

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