Wood, Stone, Silver, Gold

Towards the beginning of Parsha Nitzavim, Moshe speaks of “And you saw their abominations and their disgusting [idols] – of wood and stone, of silver and gold that were with them. A question is, why speak of the materials that these idols were made of? Why not stop after “their disgusting [idols]? it seems that Moshe (and Hashem) are going out of their way to express why the idols were disgusting.

In Kings II, in the Perek 17, the types of idolatry that the Jews were committing is described in more detail. They “made a molten image for themselves – two calves”. They ‘made Asherah-trees”. They prostrated themselves to “all the hosts of the heavens”. They “worshiped the Baal”. They “passed their sons and daughters through fire and practiced divinations and sorcery”. In Kings II and elsewhere, we get a more detailed picture of what avoda zara looked like and, apparently, these forms of avoda zara fall into four categories: wood, stone, silver, and gold. Four categories that represent four different types of worship that Hashem deplores. It seems that like Bava Kama teaches us about four categories of damage, Parsha Nitzavim and elsewhere is teaches us about four categories of avoda zara.

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