Editor: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, President, American Center for Democracy (ACD)
See the sources for this article and more research in the Additional Reading section.
Quote of the Week:
Respecting the Torah vs Respecting the Constitution – Ken’s Thought of the Week
Recently Jews around the world read the last chapter in the Torah, V’Zot Habrachah (And this is the Blessing). In this chapter, Moses blessed the children of Israel before his death. This chapter is read on the holiday of Simchat Torah (Rejoicing the Torah), which concludes the annual reading of the Torah. Right after this reading, the congregation proceeds to read the first chapter of the Torah, Bereishit (In the Beginning), thus beginning the annual ritual of reading the Torah. This is the first section of the Jewish Bible, which the Jews believe was written by G-D. It is the core and most important document that constitutes the foundation of the Jewish religion. Celebrating the Torah on this Jewish holiday offers an interesting comparison to the way Americans regard the Constitution, which is the foundation of the U.S. government system. Since the moral philosophy of the U.S. Constitution is largely derived from the Torah, while secular, it is divinely inspired and was written by the smartest people to ever write such a foundational document.
Here are ten notable ways that observant Jews treat the Torah:
3) Before the Torah is read, it is taken out of the ark and then carried in a procession around the congregation for everyone to venerate.
5) When the Torah reading is completed, additional, a complementary reading is undertaken from the book of Prophets or the Kings’ book of events.
6) After this part of the service concludes, the Torah is once again carried to the congregants before it is returned to the ark.
8) After the morning service is completed, during the subsequent communal lunch, an invited speaker gives a quick analysis of some aspect of that week’s reading.
9) Later in the afternoon, the rabbi teaches a class about the Torah reading.
Secular Americans, in contrast, treat the U.S. Constitution much differently:
1) Most Americans know almost nothing about the Constitution, because no special time has been allocated to study and celebrate it.
2) The Constitution was based on the principle of dividing power, so that the voices of the people would not be repressed by a future ‘wannabe’ dictator.
3) Since Civics studies have been canceled in many U.S. public schools, most Americans know little about the Constitution and are unable to defend and protect it.
The sad reality is that the unique document of the American Constitution is disappearing from the public sphere after only 233 years, endangering the survival of the freest country in the world. On the other hand, the reading and respect for the Torah are still vibrant, even after 3,300 years.
It is time for American leaders and We the People to demand that the Constitution is taught in all U.S. schools, public and private.
- Questions on the Constitution should be added to standardized high school tests.
- Colleges should request essays on the Constitution for new applicants.
- School curricula should include weekly reading portions of the Constitution in all classes, with students reading aloud 2-5 sentences.
- Each session should conclude with a discussion.
- High schools should hold Constitutional knowledge contests once or twice each school year.
- Senators and Congressmen should read excerpts of the Constitution on a weekly basis in both federal and state capitols.
- Public officials should cite the Constitution on major holidays such as Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and of course, Constitution Day.
It is essential that Americans familiarize themselves with and celebrate their unique foundational document, so it cannot be taken away.
Bereishit (Genesis) – Full Text – JewishVirtualLibrary.org
V’Zot HaBerachah- Parshah Weekly Torah Portion – Chabad.org
SIMCHAT TORAH – October 18, 2022 – NationalToday.com
How The Ancient Hebrews’ Faith Affected The West’s Development – TheFederalist.com