In this week’s parsha, we talk about the merits of following the rule of law.
A man drives 10 miles over the speed limit on one of New York’s highways. He is stopped by a police officer who informs him, “That’ll be three points on your driving record.”
“Three points?” the man asks. “What can I get with my points?”
The officer replies, “With eleven points you can buy a bike.”
This week’s Torah portion discusses laws. The concept of laws, as we know it, is corrupted. We frequently apply laws as is convenient: “What can I get out of it?” we ask. When it suits our purposes we carefully follow every rule and regulation. At other times, we find loopholes and excuses.
So often we have seen politicians passionately support passing a bill into law. As soon as its popularity with their constituents diminishes, however, they lose their conviction. Their “absolute” principles become obsolete.
A society that stands on wavering morals, which must depend on law enforcers to maintain civility, is bound to include wrongdoers. When no one is watching, why not drive through a red light?
There is another form of law: the Ten Commandments, given by G-d, ensure that we maintain our ethical standards and values. The only motive we need for fulfilling them is, “G-d instructed us.”
Personal factors are not considered. These laws are absolute. They don’t change over time based on the fancy of mortal beings, and they don’t require enforcers. By fulfilling the Ten Commandments we remain moral people despite the changes around us.