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    The two levels of the Ten Commandments

    The Ten Commandments have two levels, public and private.

    On the public level they are an ethos for states and communities (the Rosh HaShanah liturgy in fact speaks of all nations being assessed by God on the day of judgment).

    A quality society is answerable to God. If a society lives by His will there will be safety and security for everyone regardless of creed, colour or conviction.

    There will be peace since we all have the same right to the sunlight. There will be justice since we all deserve dignity and respect. There will be amity between nations since no state is inherently more valuable than any other.

    Some nations are openly atheistic, but they should note the words of God quoted in the Talmud, “Let them forget My name but live by My rules”.

    The private level insists that individuals measure themselves by the Commandments.

    Some people blithely say, “I’m not religious but I do keep the Ten Commandments”. How nice – even people who (mistakenly) think they aren’t religious still honour the Decalogue, as if it weren’t religious.

    In fact the Ten Commandments are one of the most religious documents we have. They constantly mention God, they speak of the Sabbath, they imply that a life without God is a life without standards.

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