Sanhedrin 64 - Love for Idol Worship

Said Rav Yehudah in the name of Rav, "The Jews knew that there is no substance to idolatry, and they engaged in it only to permit for themselves overt immorality." However, after they became attached to it, they longed for it like one longs for his son.

Elijah the Righteous would seek out those bloated from hunger in Jerusalem, during the time of the first destruction. He found a child, bloated, in a heap trash. The child was the last from a large family. Elijah asked, "If I teach you something by which you will merit to live, will you learn it?" The child replied, "Yes." Elijah said to him, "Say, every day, Hear, O Israel, God our Lord, God is One." The child said, "Be silent, do not mention the name of God which my father and mother had not taught." He then brought out the statue of his deity from his bosom, and embraced it and kissed it until his abdomen burst. He fell on his deity to fulfill, " I will cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols ."

In the time of the Second Temple the Sages prayed and fasted for three days to eliminate the power of the Evil Urge for idol worship. It appeared as a fiery lion cub out of the Holy of Holies. They threw it into a lead cauldron and covered it with lead. They then tied the Evil Urge for immorality for three days, but could not even find a fresh egg when they needed it. Since they could not eliminate the urge for only the prohibited, they at least removed the desire for relatives, like one's mother and sister.

Art: Charles Willson Peale - Mother Caressing Her Convalescant Daughter