Rules and Ethical Guidelines

The core precepts of Jewish morality and behaviour are found in the Ten Commandments:

I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods besides Me.

You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the Lord your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God; for the Lord will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.

Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God: you shall not do any work-you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

Honour your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that the Lord your God is assigning to you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house: you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female slave, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is your neighbour’s (Exodus 20:2-14).

These are developed in the 613 mitzvot.

The Treatment of non-Jews is also prescribed in the Torah: You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (Exodus 22:21).

Jews are required to follow the Ten Commandments and the other laws in the Torah and so, as a ‘chosen people’ to set an example to the rest of humanity for the way in which G-d wants them to live. In order to do this, Jews aim to live according to halakhah – according to the Way which G-d has prescribed.

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