The First Commandment:
from the perspective of Baal Halachos Gedolos –
a Jewish Sage, who lived in the 9th C. in Babylonia.

“I am the L-RD thy G-d, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” – Exodus 20:2, JPS 1917 Tanach

In the most common sense of the commandment, H’Shem’s first utterance at Sinai is understood as the commandment to believe in G-d. Yet, another view, expressed by the Baal Halachos Gedolos, predicates that the commandment is a declarative statement of factual significance.

In his view, the first commandment should be understood as more than a commandment to believe in G-d’s existence. Rather, it should be understood that belief in G-d is required, in order to accept the commandments as having been derived from a divine authority; without making this connection, morals become subject to relativity.

Therefore, it could be said that belief in G-d, within the context of the Revelation at Sinai, may provide an adequate response to the question of how to form values that will stand over time as consistent, universal, and edifying.

Without absolute values, the generations over time would loose their moral perspective, because of the nature of erosion over time. Even other edifices, built upon a secular understanding, such as political, philosophical, or ethical are subject to decay, as a result of the shifting sands of thought amongst mankind. For those, who acknowledge the Revelation at Sinai in earnst, we may say with Dovid HaMelech (King David):

“He is my rock and my salvation, My high tower, I shall not be greatly moved” (Psalm 62:3, JPS 1917 Tanach).

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