by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
Imagine living in pre-biblical times, when prevalent values included infanticide, human sacrifice and idol worship. It was a largely chaotic human landscape, devoid of moral anchor, where “might makes right” and barbarians reigned.
Then 3,300 years ago, the Jewish people stood at Sinai and – bang! – in the course of one revelation, humanity acquired a Divine code that quickly spread its revolutionary ideals of sanctity, justice, compassion, family, education and peace.
Over the millennia, various influencers – Christianity and Islam – helped Torah values become firmly rooted in human consciousness.
Just as the physical universe expands from its seminal moment, so too Sinai’s spiritual Big Bang reverberates today. With the founding of the United States of America the voice from Sinai echoed in the ideals of “all men are created equal”; “in God we trust”; “proclaim liberty throughout the land.” These are bedrocks of civilization and stem directly from the declaration of Genesis 1:27 that every human is “created in the image of God.”
The words of history’s greatest leaders, philosophers and historians – including U.S. Presidents from John Adams (“I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation.”) to Lyndon Johnson (“Our society is illuminated by the spiritual insights of the Hebrew prophets.”) – attest to Sinai’s profoundly powerful effect.
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