First Commandment (Exodus 20:2): I am the Lord Your God who has brought you out of the land of Egypt
In an amazing press conference on February 16, 2017, Donald Trump proclaimed, “I inherited a mess, it’s a mess at home and abroad. A mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. See what’s going on with all of the companies leaving. Going to Mexico and other places. Low minimum wages. Mass instability overseas no matter where you go. The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea. We’ll take care of it folks. We’ll take care of it all.”
When God gave the Torah at Mount Sinai, God essentially began the commandments by saying, “look folks, I know things have been a mess (being slaves in Egypt for 200 years and all) but I’m God and I’m going to take care of it.” Donald Trump would like us to believe that the past eight years have been the worst on record – that we’ve all been slaves to out-of-control regulation, government overreach and political correctness. And Donald Trump is the only one who can save us.
I’m sorry Donald – you are not leading us from the depths of Egypt. Certainly our country has challenges but we are not a mess. In fact, we’re doing okay. If you could stop playing god for a moment and just lead us through the wilderness for a few years that would be fine.
Second Commandment (Exodus 20:3-6): You shall have no other gods beside Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image.
Donald Trump has spent his entire life erecting altars to himself. His name, emblazoned on every building he builds, reminds all who see it what Donald Trump thinks of himself. He sees himself as the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” “the most militaristic person ever,” the best negotiator, the best wall builder, and having “the best words.” Trump worships himself and demands that others put him on a pedestal and treat him with the reverence due to gods and kings – neither of which he is.
Third Commandment (Exodus 20:7): You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain
In antiquity, names were not mere identifiers given by our parents, but were reflections of an individual’s character. That’s why Biblical names were often changed when a person went through a significant transformation (Avram to Avraham, Sarai to Sarah, Ya’akov to Yisrael). So, to take the name of God in vain doesn’t mean to carelessly say some random identifier. It is to misuse the very character of God.
God’s character is best summed up in the book of Micah 6:8 where it says rhetorically, “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Donald Trump, who does not love justice, who does not love kindness, and does not walk humbly with our God (or humbly at all) regularly brings disrepute upon God’s character and, as such, irreverently misuses God’s name.
Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11): Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.
Donald Trump has enjoyed spending his days of rest at his “Winter White House” in south Florida. Doing so has come at a tremendous financial cost to the city of Palm Beach and threatens the peace and security of its residents. Shutting down airspace and blocking roads has thrown local businesses into a tailspin worrying for their financial future due to lack of business.
Remembering the Sabbath has never been about taking a vacation from the world each week. It has always been, as the commandment teaches, about sanctifying a day so that we may learn how to bring sanctity to every day. Each time Trump takes a Sabbath in Palm Beach he desecrates the very idea of the Sabbath by causing harm to his neighbors and his community.
Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12): Honor your father and your mother
Donald Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was born in Scotland in 1912. On February 17, 1930 she was issued an immigration visa. On May 2, 1930, MacLeod departed Glasgow on board the RMS Transylvania arriving in New York City on May 11, 1930. Like many immigrants, she dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen. She began working as a domestic servant and was naturalized twelve years later on March 10, 1942.
Donald Trump’s immigration ban and border security measures fly in the face of the freedom that his own mother celebrated by immigrating to the United States. He dishonors her memory when he attempts to shut down immigration, belittle and bully those who clean and cook for his hotels and withhold wages from those who perform vital work for his projects.
Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not murder.
Okay, Donald Trump hasn’t murdered anyone. But he does have a lot to say about the subject. He has repeatedly suggested that, “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” In fact, statistics show that the 2015 murder rate was among the lowest of the past 47 years, and indeed the lowest of any year between 1965 and 2009.
But Trump isn’t only wrong on his numbers. On February 15th the Senate voted to revoke a two-month-old Obama administration gun regulation that prevents certain individuals with mental health conditions from buying firearms. The measure now moves to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it into law. Common sense gun regulation is the surest way we have to prevent gun violence and an uptick in the murder rate in our country.
That our President wouldn’t do everything in his power to prevent the senseless murders that are sure to come from the repeal of this restriction and others like it is despicable. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught us, “few are guilty, all are responsible.” Donald Trump’s choices may not make him guilty of murder but they certainly make him responsible.
Seventh Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not commit adultery.
In September of 2016, the Huffington Post reported : “In the summer of 1990, at the height of his bitter divorce from his first wife, Donald Trump was carrying on a very public extramarital affair with a former beauty queen, Marla Maples. In fact, to avoid incriminating himself, Trump pleaded the 5th ninety-seven times.
At other times, Trump has often seemed pleased, no proud, of his marital infidelity and blatantly sexist tendencies. In the wake of video footage re-discovered during the Presidential campaign, Trump was accused by a number of women of sexual assault and we have seen in debates, at rallies and in interviews how he regularly objectifies women, and rates them on a scale from 1-10. Donald Trump does not respect women and is not a role model for young boys or husbands.
Eighth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not steal.
Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has received many hundreds of donations. What those generous donors didn’t know when they were donating their hard-earned money was that Trump was going to steal their donations for his own personal use. According to an article in the Washington Post, Trump stole over $250,000 from his foundation and used those funds “to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses”. And these for-profit businesses, most famously his Trump University, gave Donald Trump yet another avenue to swindle people out of their money and steal it for himself. Trump has repeatedly boasted about his worth. No matter how much he is actually worth, it is safe to say that much of that money was taken from others.
Ninth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
It would be impossible to list the number of lies that Donald Trump has told (in just the past week) in this piece so I’ll focus on just one. Just before election day in 2016, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that over 5,000 students across the country were defrauded out of about $40 million by Donald Trump and Trump University. Students argued that they had been “lured by false promises into paying up to $35,000 to learn Trump’s real estate investing secrets from his hand-picked instructors.” Trump’s lies allowed him to steal (see #8) millions of dollars from unsuspecting Americans.
Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:14):You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
Trump has argued that he had the largest crowd at any inauguration in history. He has suggested that, despite millions of people rallying, marching and resisting across the country and around the world, that he enjoys overwhelming popularity. Donald Trump has consistently and persistently reminded us of his 306 electoral vote win in November, in part to distract from the three million vote loss he suffered in the popular vote. Trump covets attention, love, glory, power and victory. Trump apparently has not embraced the teaching from the Ethics of our Fathers that a person is rich when he or she is happy with his or her lot. (Pirkei Avot 4:1).
Sorry President Trump: President Barack Obama holds the record for the largest inauguration crowd in history, your approval ratings are lower than Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I and Reagan and Secretary Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote. You can’t always get what you want.