A Jew looks at America's founding

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Helen, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    A friend of ours in Israel had the following letter printed in a paper there. It is certainly worth the read, in our opinion:

    DEI'AH ve DIBUR

    15 Adar 5766 - March 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

    Produced and housed by

    Shema Yisrael Torah Network

    Opinion & Comment

    The Success of America May be Derived from the Chumash
    To the Editor:

    Further to "How Hebrew Came to Yale in 1777" (10 Adar), the caliber of America's Founding Fathers was very great. They were gentiles steeped and schooled in Hebraic civilization.

    The curricula at Harvard, King's (later Columbia), William and Mary, Princeton, Rutgers, Dartmouth and Brown universities were designed by men of "Old Testament persuasion." Many of them knew Hebrew and even studied Talmud. In those days, Hebrew and Penateuchal laws was as much a part of the curriculum as was Latin: "Hebrew is essential to a gentleman's education!" (Samuel Johnson).

    When looking for a model for their new nation, they looked to the Torah: "The civil polity of Israel is an excellent general model" (Samuel Langdon). The US Declaration of Independence refers to "the Laws of Nature and Nature's G- d", "The Higher Law," and appeals to the "Supreme Judge" and "Providence." How unlike the State of Israel's own Declaration, which outside of the Communist nations, is the only one in the world that does not explicitly mention the Creator!

    The statutes of New Haven, New England and Massachusetts derived straight from the Chumash. The Torah's Seven Universal Laws of morality played a major role in the US success in integrating, subordinating, and moderating its many diverse immigrants, nationalities.

    The holding of all men equal before the law, the district election of representatives, the senate, the federal system, the presidency (and the limitations on whom can bear the title), the Unitary Executive (unlike the State of Israel's fractious multi-party Plural Executive farrago!), the Supreme Court and the system of checks and balances placed on it (unlike Israel's Supreme Court which constantly rides roughshod with impunity over the abiding beliefs of the Jewish people) etc. etc., all these derived from and were inspired by our Torah, and were why the USA became the most successful nation in history.

    A success whose time may be up!

    Yours truly

    Amnon Goldberg

    Tzefas
     
  2. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,075
    Likes Received:
    102
    With due respect, I think Goldberg is blowing a good deal of smoke. He is intent on criticizing Israel's governmental system by comparing it to America's, but there is precious little evidence for his assertion that the Torah is the basis of U.S. civil polity.

    The Founders consulted a multitude of sources, including the Old Testament, I'm sure, but were chiefly influenced by the enlightenment philosophers (chiefly Locke and Montesquieu) and they looked not to Jerusalem but to Rome when they began building a republic.
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    What was interesting to me was actually what he wrote about Israel. But I do not think he is blowing as much smoke as you seem to think. The Judeo/Christian ethic IS the basis of our Constitution and legal system -- or at least it was.
     
  4. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,666
    Likes Received:
    225
    http://www.coralridge.org/OneNationUnderGod/constitution.htm
     
  5. mima

    mima
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's an interesting fact about Israel's immigration policy. Their official statements pay great lip service to the fact that Israel is a homeland for ALL Jews. But in fact if a incoming Jewish immigrant to Israel puts on his immigration papers that he is messianic (a Jew that has accepted Jesus Christ) he will not be accepted for citizenship in Israel. This was the fact just six years ago. Of course things change and I cannot witness as to what the situation is today. But certainly this is not a well-known fact.
     
  6. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    We need to be careful there. I respect Dr Kennedy and Coral Ridge Ministries greatly (and I have even supported them financially), but they unfortunately have engaged in a fair amount of revisionism on the topic. Dr Kennedy goes so far as to endorse David Barton, who is no stranger to making false claims about the topic (such as the alleged "Geo Washington prayerbook", for starters).
     
  7. fromtheright

    fromtheright
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/2844.JPG>

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    2,772
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Johnv on this one. He and I disagree on the extent of that spiritual heritage but we're agreed on the need to look to credible historical sources to buttress historical points. I am also curious about the reference to Lutz. I've seen that reference to the 15,000 documents before but I've not seen the title of his study. What documents? Does it include sermons which would understandably rely more heavily on Scripture? As to the more common sources, they are not more heavily laced with Scriptural references. If one looks to writings of the Founders and even their sources, their references are more to classical (Greece, Rome, early England) than Biblical, including John Locke and Algernon Sidney, two of the major influences on the Founders, though Sidney does have several Old Testament references. I can't answer for Montesquieu and have heard both sides dispute the extent of his reliance on Scriptural references.
     
  8. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    You are quite right!

    Look at this site:

    http://www.cmy.on.ca/toraportions2000/modeim/pesach/5766/pesach.en.htm

    You can read the same story in the latter part of Parsha.
     

Share This Page

Loading...