Quick, Barbie, hide! Teddy Ruxpin better vamoose or he's headed for a mutilation! Take an eye off that Cabbage Patch doll! Raggedy Andy doesn't really *need* two arms does he?
The newest edict comes to us from Mordechai Eliyahu, a Sephardic rabbi in Israel. He has decreed that parents should amputate or mutilate their children's dolls so as to avoid an issue of idolatry. As Rabbi Eliyahu put it himself:
"It is very important that these toys do not remain intact so as to remove the element of idolatry."
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a Rav and will not pasken that the above sounds like a bunch of nonsense. I'll leave that to more learned individuals (Rabbi Student, are you out there?). However, my gut reaction tells me that there is a vast difference between an object venerated as a divine power and a child's plaything that isn't taken seriously by anyone except children and collectors.
But the question does have to be raised: Jewish children (along with non-Jewish ones) have been playing with dolls and stuffed animals for years. I've never heard a single story where Reb Moshe told his kids to "alter" their children's dolls. I've not heard one Chassidic Rebbe order the Chassidim in his sect to take an arm off of Barbie. Why not? If this is such an important issue (and we can agree that Avoda Zara *is* a big issue), why haven't we heard about this until now?
N.B. Of course, we're not talking about cases where dolls are (for whatever insane reason) actually worshipped as idols. My daughter happens to like her American girl dolls, but she doesn't *worship* them. I can only imagine my daughter's horror at telling her that I have to chop off one of Josephina's arms!
Hat tip: CustomerServant via Shmarya