I am a Yid. I like to rock. Veitur!

- [ Wednesday, January 05, 2005 ] -
The Mural

I'm very lucky because my wife let me paint a picture on the wall in our kitchen. For some reason, painting pictures on walls is so much better than painting on paper.

Killing two birds with one stone, this image will also be featured prominently on the packaging of the newest ev├źn sh'siyah album, going through the final stages of the mastering process at this time.

I know what you're saying, how can you have an image of the sun? Isn't that prohibited by our laws against idol-worship? I'm glad you asked. This question was brought up by a member of the band after I completed the mural and album cover. Naturally, with any halachic question concerning Jewish music, marketing and halacha, I turned to the most knowledgeable and open-minded Yahoo Group (where I am most revered and respected for my Jewish music prowess) and posted it there. The best answer actually came from our band Rabbi, and he took the image to a prominent posek on the Chicago Rabbinical Council. (Disclaimer: the Rabbi is only a posek for his congregation. The CRC posek hasn't been asked if this ruling can go public in his name.) Here is the un-official statement:
There is a prohibition in Hilchos Avodah Zarah in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah 141, against depicting images of avodah zarah. The prohibited images include the sun, the moon and the stars. Among the elements of the prohibition is that the depiction be an accurate one. In fact, there is a t'shuva in Igros Moshe in which someone asked R' Moshe whether young children should draw pictures of the sun in school. He said that their representations of the sun would be permissible since they are not going to be accurate. He added, however, that as children mature and develop their artistic capabilities, there could be a real problem (and so, he queries, why even get them started?). In our case, I believe there are at least two factors that render the cover art permissible: (1) the depiction is not an accurate one, but representational; and (2) less than the entire sun is depicted. Either of those factors is sufficient to permit.
It's a good thing I've never developed my artistic capabilities.

I'm glad this was resolved satisfactionally. Nice that you didn't just go straight to the Rav for psak din ... that would have been a very Talmud Yerushalmi approach. The back and forth on the Yahoo! board was very much in the spirit of Talmud Bavli. Good luck with the album.


Lovely mural. As for the sun issue... if you don't worship the sun, how can a painted representation of it be an idol? Very simple, really: one true God (not the sun), so the sun is not a god, not an idol, etc.

I don't think it's so simple. I don't worship Christ and I'm not allowed to keep crucifixes or icons.

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