Man, the weakest of creatures, is surrounded by forces of life and death far greater than himself. Confronted with the vastness of these universal forces, man might well try to ‘serve them’ in order to protect himself, and better his lot.The essence of life, however, is to recognize the Supreme Being who created the Universe and accept His laws with awe and love. We must remember that He is aware of all our deeds, rewarding goodness and punishing evil. We are dependent on Him, and to Him alone do we owe allegiance.
To imagine that there could be any other power that could protect us or provide for our needs perverts the purpose of life, and, as history has shown, potentially unleashes untold forces of evil in ourselves, and in the world.
When we feel disappointed with life, when things do not work out as they should, how easy it to point an accusing finger and blame…everyone…everything…even G-D. Loyalty and trust are crucial in life. To blame G-d, curse, or to curse others in His name, is an act of disloyalty – akin to treason. It is an act which undermines the basis of all order and stability, on which a just society must stand.
The record of man’s inhumanity to man begins with the story of Cain and Abel. Man is indeed his brother’s keeper. The prohibition against manslaughter (including abortion) comes to protect man from the bestial tendency which lies within him. Man the attacker, denies the sanctity of human life, and ultimately attacks G-d, who created us in His image.
The Bible states, “It is not good for man to be alone,” so G-d made a helpmate for Adam and in marriage “He blessed them.” In a wholesome family, man’s creativity finds meaningful expression. Wholesome families are the cornerstone of healthy communities, nations, and societies. Nations which have condoned immorality – adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, incest – have never lasted long. Sexual immorality is the sign of an inner decay which spawns a ruthless society, bringing confusion into G-d’s life plan.
Since our sustenance comes from G-d, we should seek to earn it honestly, with dignity, and not through false means. To violate the property of others, by robbing or cheating, is a fundamental attack on their humanity. This breeds anarchy, plunging mankind into the depths of selfishness and cruelty. It was for this sin, above all, that the Flood was brought upon the world.
G-d gives man “dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the heaven, over cattle, and over all of the earth.” We are caretakers of G-d’s creation. Ultimately our responsibility extends beyond our family, even beyond society, to include the world of nature.
Eating meat so fresh that the animal is still alive, may be healthy, but it is cruel, even barbaric, displaying a decadent insensitivity to the pain of others. This law is the touchstone, if you will, that measures how well the other six laws are being observed. When man fulfills his potential, the whole of creation is nurtured and elevated to realize its goal. This transforms the world into a beautiful gem – a place where G-d can dwell.
A robust and healthy legal system, administering justice fairly, creates a society worthy of G-d’s blessings. Establishing a system of judges, courts, and officials to maintain and enforce the law is a far-reaching responsibility. This precept translates the ideals of our personal life into a formal order for society at large. It is the extension and guarantee of all the preceding laws.