“Don’t make for yourself any idol…” (Exodus 20:4)
The Hebrew here is “Lo ta’aseh lecha pesel” which is ordinarily translated to teach we shouldn’t make an idol for ourselves. But it can also imply that we shouldn’t make ourselves into an idol!
Idolatry is ultimately a placing one’s own will over the will of the Almighty. The serving of one’s self rather than serving G-d.
Psalm 81:10 warns us that “there shall be no strange god within you…” Our sages teach that one who explodes in rage is as if s/he has engaged in idol worship (Shabbos 105b). This kind of explosion is an over-extension of our ego into the world that ultimately asserts oneself as a god. Idolatry is not just an ancient challenge that went the way of the dodo bird. We each face it every day.
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
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