The Ten Principles for America
Dr. Ron Wexler

The Sixth Commandment

“You shall not murder”(Exodus 20:13). The Jewish Sages note that the first commandment on the second tablet corresponds perfectly with the first commandment on the other one. I have dealt with this previously in my essay on the first commandment “I am the Lord, your God…” (Exodus 20:2). There we dealt with the concept of faith in one God and one God only the God that created the universe and man. Thus, Men, who truly believe in God as the Ultimate Creator and the sustainer of all creatures including human life, will not commit murder. Evidently when we see tragedies such as children killing children in High Schools and Higher Educational Institutes, we see the complete disregard for the dignity of life. The main reason for such senseless killings is that our civilization accelerates far too quickly in moving away from the word of God and the Ten Commandments, and this brings upon the absolute disregard for human life. Placing the Ten Commandments within society is monumental, and is the only way to assure that the dignity of men and the sanctity of life are elevated to a place intended by God.

Obviously the prohibition against murder is so logical and comprehensive that one might say that such a principle should not even be included in the Ten Commandments. Murder is such a negative concept for mankind and it was prohibited perhaps many years before the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, in fact it was included within the code of ethics within many primitive societies, such as the Arcadian society and the laws of Hamurabi. Many commentators bring up passages from the Sages pointing out that the Ten Commandments are in essence a guideline for society and propel human behavior towards accepting and maintaining a high level of civilized society.

According to the Sages, the Ten Commandments should not be viewed within the literal translation of the words; rather the emphasis should be given to the entire concept as a whole - The creation for a better society. Without the ten principles, called the Ten Commandments, society cannot exist. Removing the Ten Commandments from society will progressively eliminate and eventually bring the absolute fall of our civilization. No civilized society, or government can exist successfully without the recognition, acceptance, adherence and submission to an absolute authority and to Gods moral law. The basic understanding that God is our Creator and that we are created in His image is enough to validate the prohibition, do not murder.

The five commandments on the first tablet substantiate the principle that we, as human beings are not the center of the universe, and that we do not live alone. We are a part of a whole, we live within a society; a society that has the right to exist. Therefore, as a part of this society, we are obligated to respect each human beings individual right to exist. This means do not kill anyone of Gods creations, which is of His image, and that other men within society just like us have these same equal rights that we do to fulfill their own personal existence.


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