We’re driving along, off to a restaurant to rescue some leftover food which will be reapportioned for hungry folks. It is hot in the car, but I don’t notice since I’m not into air conditioning. She, however, apologizes profusely, clicking her windows shut and turning it on full blast. “I’m sorry,” she says, “I don’t use air conditioner always since I wanted to stop myself from worshipping it. I realized at one point that I was using it as avodah zarah (strange worship). “
I smile, amused, but not quite comprehending. Then she explains a bit more. “I caught myself praying to my air conditioner. Talking to it and saying, ‘please don’t break’ or ‘c’mon work already’. And I thought, woa, that’s wrong. My focus is to talk and pray to G-d. So I took myself off of air conditioning until I got my brain straightened out.”
I look at her, with her simple mien and her intensely beautiful blue eyes, and think, “Wow, sophistry in spirituality! What profound thought processes in her pretty head.”
Avodah Zara is the worship of anything in disconnect from G-d. How many of us are guilty of it, once we analyze it? Yes, we wouldn’t bow to the totem people. But don’t we bend our knees, or even crawl on our bellies, for other things – for the sexy date, for the extra bonus, for the shine of the spotlight?
In the flash of blue eyes and in the words of that volunteer I heard the echo of Sinai booming, telling me clearly, “There is nothing other than G-d.”