Jewish Values During the American Revolution

(טז) לֹא־תֵלֵ֤ךְ רָכִיל֙ בְּעַמֶּ֔יךָ לֹ֥א תַעֲמֹ֖ד עַל־דַּ֣ם רֵעֶ֑ךָ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָֽה׃

(16) You shall not go up and down as a gossiper among your people; neither shall you stand idly by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

(ב) לא תעמד על דם רעך. לראות במיתתו ואתה יכול להצילו, כגון טובע בנהר, וחיה או לסטים באים עליו:

You shall not stand idly by [the shedding of] the blood of thy neighbor: [I.e., do not stand by,] watching your fellow’s death, when you are able to save him; for example, if he is drowning in the river or if a wild beast or robbers come upon him. — [Torath Kohanim 19:41; Sanh. 73a]

What Jewish value can we find here?

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(ב) אָֽנֹכִ֖י֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֧ר הוֹצֵאתִ֛יךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֣֥ית עֲבָדִֽ֑ים׃

(2) I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

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(כז) וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃

(27) And God created man in God's own image, in the image of God God created him; male and female created God them.

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וְהָאָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: "דִּינָא דְמַלְכוּתָא דִּינָא"

And Samuel said, "The law of the land is the law".

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(ט) הֲל֤וֹא צִוִּיתִ֙יךָ֙ חֲזַ֣ק וֶאֱמָ֔ץ אַֽל־תַּעֲרֹ֖ץ וְאַל־תֵּחָ֑ת כִּ֤י עִמְּךָ֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר תֵּלֵֽךְ׃ (פ)

(9) Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’

What Jewish value can we find here?

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(ב) רַבִּי חֲנִינָא סְגַן הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי מִתְפַּלֵּל בִּשְׁלוֹמָהּ שֶׁל מַלְכוּת, שֶׁאִלְמָלֵא מוֹרָאָהּ, אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ חַיִּים בְּלָעוֹ.

(2) Rabbi Chanina, the Deputy High Priest, said: Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, one person would eat the other alive.

What Jewish value can we find here?

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(כ) צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף לְמַ֤עַן תִּֽחְיֶה֙ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ֣ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃

(20) Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live, and inherit the land which the LORD your God gives you.

What Jewish value can we find here?

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(טז) וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רוּת֙ אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִ֔י לְעָזְבֵ֖ךְ לָשׁ֣וּב מֵאַחֲרָ֑יִךְ כִּ֠י אֶל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר תֵּלְכִ֜י אֵלֵ֗ךְ וּבַאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּלִ֙ינִי֙ אָלִ֔ין עַמֵּ֣ךְ עַמִּ֔י וֵאלֹהַ֖יִךְ אֱלֹהָֽי׃

(16) And Ruth said: ‘Do not entreat me to leave you, and to return from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God;

What Jewish value can we find here?

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(יד) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתַי:

(14) Hillel would say: If I am not for me, who will be for me? When I am [only] for myself, what am I? If not now, when?

What Jewish value can we find here?

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(ו) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אֵין בּוֹר יְרֵא חֵטְא, וְלֹא עַם הָאָרֶץ חָסִיד, וְלֹא הַבַּיְשָׁן לָמֵד, וְלֹא הַקַּפְּדָן מְלַמֵּד, וְלֹא כָל הַמַּרְבֶּה בִסְחוֹרָה מַחְכִּים. ובִמְקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אֲנָשִׁים, הִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִהְיוֹת אִישׁ:

(6) Hillel would say: A rude person cannot be reverent, an ignoramus (ignorant person) cannot be pious, a shy person cannot learn, an impatient person cannot teach, not everybody who busies themselves with business learns wisdom, and where there are no worthy people try to be a worthy person.

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When considering which value can be derived from each source, consider the following possibilities:

- Don't be a bystander (“Lo Ta’amod Al Dam Rei’echa”)

- Equality (“B’tzelem Elokim”)

- Courage (“Ometz Lev”)

- Justice (“Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof”)

- Balancing Concern for Self with Concern for Others (“Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li, Uchsheani L’Atzmi Ma Ani”)

- Leadership (“BaMakom SheAin Ish”)

- Loyalty (“Dibbuk”)

- Pray for the Welfare of the Government (“Mitpalel biShloma shel Malchut”)

- The Law of the Land is the Law (“Dina deMalchuta Dina”)

- Freedom (“Cheirut”)