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Deuteronomy Shoftim
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16:21 Do not plant for yourself an Asherah [or any other] tree near the altar that you will make yourselves for God your Lord.
Lo-tita lecha asherah kol-ets etsel mizbach Adonay Eloheycha asher ta'aseh-lach.
16:22 Do not erect a sacred pillar, since this is something that God your Lord hates.
Velo-takim lecha matsevah asher sane Adonay Eloheycha.


  See Exodus 34:13. Or, 'grove' (Septuagint; cf. HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Some say that any tree planted at the entrance to a house of worship is called an Asherah (Lekach Tov; Ramban).

or any other
  (Mizrachi; cf. Yad, Avodath Kokhavim 6:9).

sacred pillar
  Some say that it is a monolith used for sacrifices (Rashi; Radak, Sherashim; Ibn Janach; Sefer Mitzvoth Gadol, Negative 44). Others say that it is a structure built as a focus for worship (Yad, Avodath Kokhavim 6:6; Ralbag; Chinukh 493). See Leviticus 26:19.

that God your Lord hates
  Although it was common in the time of the patriarchs (Genesis 28:18, 31:34, 35:14, Exodus 24:4), by this time, such sacred pillars had become identified with idolatrous practices (Sifri; Rashi). However, some say that the patriarchs did not use the pillars for sacrifices, but merely as a sign (Abarbanel). It is for this reason that it is permitted to erect a monument for the dead (Midrash HaGadol).

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