Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the world. Abraham (circa 1900 BCE) is hailed as the father of the Jewish people, who made a covenant with God. The second and chief covenant was made 450 years later when Moses led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt back to the lands of Canaan. During their journey, Moses received from God the Ten Commandments and other rules to live by. Subsequently, for 1000 years, various prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekial
In Judaism, the oneness of existence is understood as the basis of religious thinking. God is the only Being with an absolute reality. Human beings are His creation and everything is an expression of His Glory. The perception of equal respect and dignity of all human beings is also very much an essential value in Judaism. According to Talmud Shabbat, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor”. Also, the whole story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt is a story of human liberation, and God’s concern and love for all human beings. Moreover, many of the Ten Commandments relate specifically to people treating each other with equal respect and dignity.
One can infer that the whole story of the Journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land is a story of the intrinsic relationship between human beings and the natural and cosmic environment around them. It is also a story of all the challenges and hardships we all face in our own journey through life, here on earth, and that at times God does intervene to help us, and that miracles do happen.
Sculpture by De Costa Lakpriya Traders, Gilioya, Sri Lanka
Exodus Chapter 20
I. I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slav-ery.
II. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.
III. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
IV. Honour your father and your mother.
V. You shall not kill.
VI. You shall no t commit adultery
VII. You shall not steal.
VIII. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
IX. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house.
X. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male or female servant, nor his ox, or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.