Avoiding Idolatry

Many modern forms of avodah zarah (idolatry) still exist. The Torah requires that that all Jews learn to recognize and adamantly reject all forms of avodah zarah. The Rambam Z"TL, our greatest rabbi, posek, and Jewish philosopher in the last 1000 years, laid down a very clear foundation of Torah monotheism in his Torah philosophy sefer "Moreh Nevuchim" (Moreh Nevuchim) and in his halachic compendium the "Mishneh Torah".

"You know from texts of the Torah figuring in a number of passages that the first intention of the Law as a whole is to put an end to idolatry, to wipe out its traces and all that is bound up with it ...everyone who professes idolatry, disbelieves in the Torah in its entirety..." (Moreh Nevuchim III:29)

The Universe Exists and is Not "Godliness":

" there exists nothing except God, may He be exalted, and this existent world...it necessarily behooves one to consider this existent as it is..." "the foundation of the whole Law is the view that God has brought the world into being out of nothing..." (Moreh Nevuchim I:71)

Hashem has no body or form, and we can only describe Him in terms of His actions, not His essence:

"We have no way of describing Him unless it be through negations...We are only able to apprehend the fact that He is not a body.. every attribute that we predicate of Him is an attribute of action." (Moreh Nevuchim I:58)

"Five individuals are described as minim (intellectual idolators) ... one who accepts that there is one Master, but maintain that He has a body or form..." (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuvah, 3:7)

The practices of wearing Red Strings are the "ways of idolaters": An ancient Tosefta in Tractate Shabbos warns Jews about certain idolatrous practices which we still observe today, such as dancing around a bonfire on Lag B'Omer:

"These things are from the ways of the Emorim (i.e., behavior of idolaters): one who cuts his hair koomi (i.e., like the idolaters), and one who makes a plait (locks worn by Roman or Greek youth or upper classes) and offers it to the gods, one who raises her child between the dead, one who ties a cushion to his hip (a superstitious custom), or a red string to his finger, and one who appoints and throws rocks to the sea or the river, these are idolatrous behaviors; one who and claps and dances to the fire, this is idolatrous behavior." (Tosefta Shabbos, Chapter 7)

Avoiding Idolatry