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Written by Victoria Radin   

The Underpinnings of Our Moral Code and Our Civil and Religious Law

Judaism is not a religion, but rather G-d’s instructions on how to maintain a relationship with Him. They form the underpinnings of Jewish morals, as well as that of civil and religious law. The United States is the only other nation besides Israel that was formed with those underpinnings. The original settlers were Christians and colonized America for the express purpose of religious freedom. Christianity is based upon the moral code of the Torah as well as the teachings of Jesus (Yeshua), who demonstrated and clarified that moral code. These Christians made a Covenant with G-d to keep His Commands in the new land they were settling.

According to Jewish tradition, G-d gave the Jewish people 613 Commandments (Mitzvot). In the original Hebrew, the first ten of those Commandments are called the Ten Words. According to rabbinic teaching, these Ten Words are categories or classifications into which each of the 613 Commandments fall. G-d told Moses that these Ten Words formed a covenant between the people and G-d.

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Write these words down, because they are the terms of the covenant I have made with you and with Isra’el.’ Moshe was there with Adonai forty days and forty nights, during which time he neither ate food nor drank water. [Adonai] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.” (Exodus 34:27-28 CJB; also Deuteronomy 4:13 and 10:4)

The Ten Words are listed twice in the Torah, once in Exodus 20:1-17 and again in Deuteronomy 5:4-21. The first five Words carved on the first tablet identify a person’s duties regarding his/her relationship with the Creator, while the last five identify one’s duties regarding his/her relationship with his/her fellow man. 

The ten categories into which all 613 commandments (mitzvot) fall are:

  • Belief in G-d
  • Prohibition of Improper Worship
  • Prohibition of Oaths
  • Observance of Sacred Times
  • Respect for Parents (The rabbis teach that our parents are our creators and stand in a relationship to us in a similar way to our relationship to the Divine.) 
  • Prohibition of Physically Harming a Person
  • Prohibition of Sexual Immorality
  • Prohibition of Kidnapping (interpreted to mean all theft)
  • Prohibition of being a False Witness (Harming a Person through Speech)
  • Prohibition of Coveting (Not desiring what others have)

While the word ‘mitzvot’ is most often translated as “commandments” or “directives”, the Hebrew word “mitzvah” actually implies the idea of “connection”. Rabbi Mordechai Kraft teaches that these are actually the ten ways to ensure our connection to G-d. 

Most of the founding fathers of the United States professed Christianity and adhered to Judeo-Christian values. A portrait of the first president of the United States even depicts George Washington in prayer during the Revolutionary War. Washington once said:

“To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” --The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343

John Adams, the second president of the United States said the following:

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty G-d ... What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” --Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.

Thomas Jefferson, who drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence said:

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” --The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385.

John Hancock, the first individual to sign the Declaration of Independence declared:

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. ... Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on G-d, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.” --History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin, signer of the Declaration of Independence and ratifier of the U.S. Constitution confessed:

“Here is my Creed. I believe in one G-d, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.” --Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on March 9, 1790.

Dr. Benjamin Rush, also a signer of the Declaration of Independence and ratifier of the U.S. Constitution not only testified of his love for the Gospel, but declared that the Constitution was a miracle of G-d:

“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.”--Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, pp. 165-166.

It is reported that at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a certain lady asked Ben Franklin, as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Dr. Ben Franklin replied, “A republic madam, if you can keep it.” A quote from our 2nd President John Adams explains why Franklin knew it would be a difficult document to keep in force. Adams said,

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

It has been said that a society without law inevitably succumbs to anarchy or to an oppressive dictatorship. Untarnished law, willingly obeyed, is the glue that cements stability and assures fairness for all. Supreme liberty is possible only through laws that are equitable and a citizenry that willingly submits to them from the heart. G-d has enumerated that system of laws that is far better than anything human beings have ever devised, the Ten Words, also known as the Ten Mitzvot or Ten Commandments.

Since the days of the founders, forces from within and from without have attempted to disrupt the founding fathers’ purpose of maintaining a government of self-rule, i.e. a Republic. All attempts to derail the Constitution have failed, except one––the effort to erase G-d and religion from our homes, schools and government. Judeo-Christian Values form the basis of a smoothly running society. When we begin to move away from the ‘Mitzvot’ of G-d, we begin to lose our ‘connection’ to the Almighty and accordingly, His favor.

One of the ways that enemies of the Republic have endeavored to move America away from these values, has been to emphasize science as a substitute for G-d. Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg even suggested that social media could take the place of church. William Jennings Bryan, an American orator and politician said it best when he wrote:

“Science tells us what we can do, religion tells us what we should do. Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm-tossed human vessels.... It not only fails to supply the spiritual element needed but some of its unproven hypotheses rob the ship of its compass and thus endanger its cargo. If civilization is to be saved from the wreckage threatened by intelligence not consecrated by love, it must be saved by the moral code of the meek and lowly Nazarene (Jesus). His teachings, and His teachings alone, can solve the problems that vex the heart and perplex the world.”

If we are to survive as a Constitutional Republic, we must restore the underpinnings of our moral code and our civil and religious law, which is the Ten Words written on tablets of stone and then, more importantly, on the tablets of our hearts.

1. The Torah is consisted of the first five books of the Bible.

2. From Judaism 101 http://www.jewfaq.org/10.htm

3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v-pL9xPZ1mPvY




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