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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
We Don't Do Avodah Zara Because We Aren't Smart Enough

Given the chance we would worship avodah zara? Of course we would, that is why the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah davened to abolish the Yetzer Hara for it. The gemara says this in no uncertain terms in Sanhedrin (102b). Rav Ashi referred to the wicked idol worshipper Menashe as a "friend" and did not give him respect. That night Menashe came to him in a dream and asked a simple question in Halacha which he could not answer. He then told Rav Ashi that not only was he not as great as him in Torah but her would would be a far greater worshipper of avodah zara had he lived in Menashe's time. Rav Ashi, the great amora! Where does that leave us? What does this mean they abolished avodah zara?

What was avodah zara, and how did such great men fall victim to it? In those days people lived on different level. There heads were more in the heavens than o earth, clinging to Hashem and understanding his ways and the way the world works. What they found was a system where Hashem controls the world through malachim with each one given a different task. Of course Hashem controls all these malachim who are mere extensions of His will. To believe otherwise is heresy.

The Seforim tell us that avodah zara meant to force these malachim to do as we wish. It meant to find the Malach in charge of rain and forcing him to give rain. Now of course this could not happened against the will of Hashem, but Hashem allowed it to be. That is part of the nisayon of the world. Although their initial intentions were purely Lishma, once they had these "keys" in their hands the temptation to manipulate it for good reasons became irresistable. And from this slippery slope they fell all the way to disobeying Hashem and still making sure they were blessed with everything they wished for. 

It came to the point where they understood that Hashem will not change the way of the world to thwart them and they believed themselves invincible. Until finally one day Hashem changed all the tasks of the malachim, so that now when they asked the malach of parnassa for money, he could not help. And when they became sick and went to the malach of refuah, it did not help. They became helpless and powerless.

In order to make sure this never happens again the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah davened for the haveans to be closed to the human mind. We now no longer are capable of manipulating the world from the heavens. Unfortunately as a result we no longer can soar the heavens and be as close to Hashem as we once were. Our wings were clipped and we are no grounded.

So it seems that there was an upside and downside in the abolishment of avodah zara. But was there really? Its true that we can no longer bring sustenance and abundance as we wish, but have we given up trying? Not at all, only unlike then when our evil inclination actually produced guaranteed results, we now cling to methods that are hollow and almost laughable.

Instead of opening the gates in heaven at the source, we think that with our silly earthly maneuvers we can open it from down here. We think that our brains will make us money. Is that better or worse than relying on a malach? We try every segula in the world instead of just davening to Hashem. After all Hashem is our only address nowadays, and He arranged this as a favor to us. Why look elsewhere?

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