By the grace of G‑d
Erev Shabbos Yisro, 5722 [January, 1962]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greeting and blessing!

The Ten Commandments unite within them laws of two, apparently quite different orders: The first Commandments express and reveal the deepest truths about G‑d's Unity (true monotheism); the others, on the other hand, contain such elementary injunctions as Thou shalt not murder and Thou shalt not steal, which seem self-evident even to the average human intellect.

However, the truth is that even self-evident moral precepts, if left to human judgment alone, without the binding force of Divine Authority and Sanction, can out of self-love be distorted so as to turn vice into virtue.

Indeed, interpreting the moral precepts of Thou shalt not murder and Thou shalt not steal, from the viewpoint of selfish gain, many a nation in the world, as well as many an individual, have legalized their abhorrent ends, not to mention that they have justified the means to those ends — as has been amply demonstrated, to our sorrow, particularly in recent years.

If by rejecting the Commandments of I am G‑d and Thou shalt have no other G‑ds or even by dissociating them from Thy shalt not murder and Thy shalt not steal, the safeguard against bloodshed and theft, even in their most brutal forms, were removed from humanity's conscience, it is certainly hopeless to expect safeguards against Thou shalt not murder and Thou shalt not steal, in more subtle ways, such as the bloodshed of character assassination, or the theft of the mind (ganeivas da'as) and the like.

The Ten Commandments emphasize, and experience has fully and repeatedly borne it out, that even the simplest precepts of morality and ethics must rest on the foundation of I am G‑d and Thy shalt have no other G‑ds — and only then can their compliance be assured.

This is one of the basic purposes of Torah-true education; to inculcate in our children the true way of life (Derech Chayyim) in accordance with The Law of Life (Toras Chayyim) — a way of life in every-day living, on the solid foundations of the Torah and Mitzvoth. For the Torah and Mitzvoth alone provide the true content of Jewish life, and are at the same time the fountains of life for every Jew and for all Jews.