The Ten Commandments
- Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
- Honor thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbour’s.
—The Old Testament
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.”
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
—The Shema, the central prayer of the Jewish faith, from Deuteronomy 6:4-5
The religion of the Jews is inseparable from their history as a people. Its predominant aspect is the belief in one God, known as Jehovah or Yahweh, who is all powerful and concerned with each individual.
Judaism evolved thousands of years ago in the desert areas of the Middle East. This nomadic people settled in the land of Canaan, which they called Israel. How the people evolved, became enslaved, and finally were delivered by God into the promised land is told in Genesis and Exodus, the first two books of the five books of the Old Testament (called the Torah). The Torah can also be seen as a mystical pattern—of thought, belief, and action—that is eternal, infinite, and fundamental to life. The Torah was revealed by God to Moses, the foremost of the Hebrew prophets. He led the people from slavery to freedom, and he received the Ten Commandments in the revelation at Sinai.
Judaism emphasizes maintaining a high personal code of ethics. The Talmud is a result of this concern. It contains a storehouse of the traditions, laws, and wisdom gleaned by Jewish sages from study of the Torah. Judaism has no doctrine of Original Sin, nor is it evangelical in nature. Through their wanderings and persecution as a minority people in other lands, the Jews strengthened their traditions in the face of adversity. Using the family unit as a base for religious worship, Judaism does not create a great division between the sacred and secular worlds; it asserts that any and all parts of life can and should be made holy.
“When someone makes a mistake, before you blame that one, think first: ‘If I had done this, what excuse would I find for myself, to justify myself?’ Then give the other person the benefit of your excuse. This, my friends, is the ultimate in love.”—Yisrael ben Eliezar, The Baal Shem Tov
For more information on Judaism, go to http://www.uri.org/Judaism.html.
All Faiths Hall Quotations
“For the commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. But the word is very near to you; it is in the mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”
“The Torah is a tree of life to them that hold fast to it, and its supporters are happy. Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.”
—Prayer Upon Returning The Scroll to the Ark
“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let His countenance shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you peace. Amen.”
—Concluding Prayer of Morning Service
“Grant us peace, Thy most precious gift, O Thou Eternal Source of Peace, and enable Israel to be its messenger unto all peoples of the earth.”