Ten Commandments, the Torah Term Paper

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[. . .] This is a clear example of the Ten Commandments merely being categories for other mitzvoth. Looking to the other mitzvoth, it is clear that holy days are considered the Sabbath. Therefore, the prohibition against work on the Sabbath also applies to those holidays.

The fifth commandment directs Jews to honor their parents. As previously explained, disrespect of parents indicates a disrespect for God. Instead, parents are to be honored as the creator. However, for Jews, the idea of the fifth commandment is expanded; one is to honor ones teachers and mentors, as well as one's parents. Therefore, a Jewish child who shows disrespect for a teacher violates the fifth commandment, as does one who shows disrespect for a parent.

In contrast to the first five commandments, the second five commandments are those that speak of man's obligation to mankind. The sixth commandment prohibits murder. The seventh commandment prohibits adultery. The eighth commandment prohibits theft. The ninth commandment prohibits bearing false witness. The tenth commandment prohibits coveting. Each of these commandments is aimed at increasing harmony among people.

The first of the five commandments addressing the obligations owed to one's fellow man is the prohibition against murder. Obviously, not murdering one another should lead to more harmonious relationships among people. However, this commandment encompasses many mitzvoth that would not appear to be linked with murder. For example, Jews are prohibited from not interfering when they see a person being subjected to serious harm. Therefore, the prohibition against murder is not simply a negative commandment, but a commandment that places a positive obligation upon Jews to do their best to protect the lives of their fellow man.

One of the other interesting aspects of the sixth commandment is that the prohibition is against murder. In other religions or traditions, the sixth commandment is sometimes described as a prohibition against killing. However, the prohibition is actually against murder. Therefore, a Jew who supports the death penalty, or works as a soldier, does not do so in violation of the sixth commandment. The prohibition is specifically against murder.

In fact, the Jewish interpretation of the sixth commandment differs significantly from the Christian interpretation in a significant manner: the topic of abortion. Not only is abortion permissible under Judaism, but sometimes required. In circumstances where a woman's life is endangered by a continuing pregnancy, it violates the mitzvoth prohibiting standing by while someone is in danger to deny that woman access to an abortion. In contrast, many Christians believe that any abortion violates the prohibition against murder. In this way, the different interpretations reveal one of the differences between the two religions. In Judaism, a life in being is always to be given precedence over an unborn life.

The seventh commandment prohibits adultery. The Jewish concept of adultery is not limited to the definition of adultery in secular terms. In order to understand the idea of adultery, one has to understand Jewish attitudes towards sex. First, according to Judaism, sex is not a sin; nor is sex limited to procreation. Instead, sex is a natural need, which is to be fulfilled, within the context of a marriage. Furthermore, the prohibition against adultery also addresses the fact that sex is considered a woman's right and a man's duty. If a man is having an extramarital relationship, he is neglecting his duty to his wife. One of the reasons that adultery is considered such an aberrance, and invokes many of the other mitzvoth, is because of the Jewish view of marriage. Unlike some other religions or cultures, Jews do not view procreation as the main purpose of marriage. In contrast, Jews view the provision of loving companionship as the main purpose of marriage. Therefore, the seventh commandment could be violated by denying one's spouse of companionship and love and may not be confined to having a sexual relationship with another. A modern day example of this type of adultery is a married person having an internet affair. Even if the married person has never actually met the object of their affair, if they have diverted their companionship away from their spouse and towards another, they may be violating this commandment.

The eighth commandment, which prohibits theft, is another commandment that is much broader than it first appears. Obviously, it is a violation of the eighth commandment to go into a store and shoplift. However, the scope of the commandment is broader than merely property crimes. For example, one who kidnaps someone violates the eighth commandment, as does one who steals embezzles or cheats on his taxes.

Of the commandments describing one's obligation to their fellow man, the ninth commandment overlaps most clearly with the commandments describing one's obligations to God. The ninth commandment prohibits one from bearing false witness against his neighbors. In a court of law, one who did so would also violate the fourth commandment. However, this commandment is not limited to a courtroom setting. The various mitzvoth that fall underneath this commandment also prohibit certain types of gossiping. For example, one who spread information without regard to whether it was true or false would be violating the ninth commandment, as would someone that intentionally spread lies.

The tenth commandment prohibits coveting those things that belong to others. The tenth commandment may be the most difficult to follow. After all, once one has accepted a belief in God and determined that they will follow the Jewish path to God, the first nine commandments are a list of prohibited and permitted actions. However, the tenth commandment speaks to feelings and thoughts. While it may be easy not to take someone else's convertible, wife, or house, it is more difficult not to want them. However, the tenth commandment may be the key to following the other commandments, and observing all of the mitzvoth. For example, one who has no desire for another's spouse is highly unlikely to commit adultery. Therefore, a person who concentrates on observing the tenth commandment is more likely to follow the other commandments, especially those commandments that are directed to improving the relationships between men.

Cleary, the Ten Commandments have importance in the Jewish faith. They serve to categorize the mitzvoth and provide an outline of acceptable and prohibited behavior. However, it is equally clear that the Ten Commandments are only part of the story; Jewish law contains 613 commandments and places equal importance on each of those commandments. However, by considering whether or not one's actions would violate the intent of one of the Ten Commandments, if not the letter of it, can help one determine whether or not their actions are in compliance with the Jewish compact… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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