Parsha Mitzvot: Yitro: Mitzvah 29 – Concept 29
“You shall not make yourself a carved image nor any likeness of that which is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the water beneath the earth.” (Exodus 20:4) We may not make an idol for ourselves. (Rambam, Hilchot Avodah Zarah – The Laws of Idolatry and Paganism)
Apparently, the Torah speaks about a prohibition of idol worship over and above that which was mentioned in verse 3. It may well refer to the persom who believes in the One and only God, but who, due to God’s invisibility, desires to remind himself of His existence and all-pervasiveness by means of a symbol such as a picture or a sculpture. When such a person offers up a prayer he feels more comfortable if he can concentrate on a visual image of sorts; hence he constructs for himself such an image in order to pray more intensely to our One and Only God.
Or, such a worshipper may feel embarrassed to bother God Himself with all his little problems, but he feels at ease speaking of these problems to someone who m he considers a subordinate of God. Most if the idol worshippers have fallen victims to this error. (Or HaChaim Hakadosh)