August 10, 2023 / 23 Menachem-Av, 5783 • Parshat Re'eih
Issue 781
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Eradicting Idolatry

You must utterly eradicate their deities from all the places where the nations whom you will dispossess worshiped, upon the lofty mountains, upon the hills, and under every lush tree. 

Deut. 12:2

G-d is the source of all power and potential in the world, including our own.

The Ba’al Shem Tov teaches us that we must keep this truth constantly in mind, for if we allow it to slip from our consciousness, we will perforce look to other sources of power (such as “nature” or “ego”), ascribing to them the ability to act on their own.

This is a subtle form of idolatry. Furthermore, this misconstruction is diametrically opposed to the objective of the Torah and its commandments, which is to refine materiality so it can serve as a means to reveal Divinity rather than to obscure it.

It is therefore crucial that we “utterly eradicate” every vestige of this misconception.