About The Seven Universal Commandments
First Commandment – To Believe in God
Prohibition of Idolatry
Every person should believe in the existence of the one and only Creator of the world. He creates the world and every person and knows all our actions and thoughts. He observes them and judges each person according to his deeds. He is the one and only G-d whom we must worship and to whom we should pray.
The practical meaning of this commandment is a complete prohibition to bow down or worship idols of any kind or to believe in another god or any created entity or force.
Second Commandment –To Honor God
Prohibition against blaspheming
Each person has to give respect to the Creator of the world, who granted him life and the world to live in. G-d gave to man the wonderful and unique capacity of speech. Its power to build the world in which we live in is infinite. When we use it to recognize the Divine Providence in our life we can actually relate to God. To think, speak and act in the world of truth we have to base ourselves upon the Divine criteria of truth. It allows us true free choice.
The practical meaning of this commandment is the prohibition to curse G-d or call Him any derogatory or disrespectful name.
Third Commandment –To Respect Human Life
Prohibition of murder
Man is created in the “image” of God. Man’s life is a holy gift, which no one has the permission to take away from him. One should respect and encourage the continuation of mankind. One who kills a soul it is considered as though he has murdered the entire world and harmed the Creator in whose image he was created.
The practical meaning of this commandment is a complete prohibition to kill any human being, including a fetus in its mother’s womb.
Fourth Commandment –To Respect Marriage
Prohibition of adultery or incest
God created firstly the man and the woman as one unit and then divided them into two separate entities, which are in need of each other in order to reach completeness. Married life and its laws are, therefore, the basis for the existence of mankind and the completeness of the family and community. This comes into expression also in keeping values of modesty and discreetness in matters of marital relationship.
The practical meaning of this commandment is the prohibition of incest and adultery. This includes the prohibition of sexual relations between relatives of the first degree, between a married woman and another man, between two males or with animals.
Fifth Commandment –To Respect Property
Prohibition of theft
God has granted each person the ownership over his money and possessions, and no one is permitted to take them away from him. This includes also the prohibition of holdover payment, the prohibition to kidnap a person, young or old.
The practical meaning of this commandment is a strict prohibition of stealing or robbery or any kind of taking a possession away from one’s disposal by force or by fraud or in any other illegal way. Sensitivity to another person’s money or property inspires us also to do acts of charity and kindness.
Sixth Commandment –To Respect All Living Creatures
Prohibition to eat part cut from a living creature
God created living creatures in the world, and we must respect their existence. As opposed to the flora, which is renewed continuously, harm to animals is irreversible. Although the Torah is not negating to eating meat, it sets strict limits to the ability of a person to use animals for his needs. This commandment, which obliges us not to be indifferent even to the suffering of an animal, enhances also our obligation to be aware of another person’s sorrow, not to hurt him and to help him come out of his stress.
The practical meaning of this commandment is the prohibition of eating a limb or tearing out a limb taken from an animal while it is still alive.
Seventh Commandment –To Respect the Law
Appointment of judges and pursue of Justice
In order that all the above laws will be properly observed, courts of justice should be established in every city (or zone), with judges, who will make decisions with regard these commandments and have the authority to punish those who transgress them. Every person who has an argument will be able to go to these appointed judges and obey their judgment.