Loyalty, is it an Obligation? What about Loyalty to God?

  • Loyalty can sometimes be an obligation without freedom.  A dictatorship requires its citizens to be loyal to their rulers.
  • A religion can demand loyalty from its followers even in a democracy.
  • The sacred law today teaches Be Loyal to God as the first precept, the universal Law.

Loyalty is defined as faithfulness to accept obligation. It has an important place in life.

Two people marry.  They should be loyal to each other. A person goes out to work and accepts a job.  His employer expects his worker to be loyal.  This means that his worker is required to do all of his appointed duties.  The employer designates to his worker what is his job.  He is not obligated to do the job which is appointed to another worker. If the employee will not perform the employer has the right to fire him.  There are other factors involved which are tenure, sickness leave, and laws of the government about work conditions.  The employee can only be expected to do the work which he is capable of doing.  If he is not capable to do his work the employer has the right to fire him or transfer him to another job more suitable to him. The employee is not obligated to work for free.  He can ask for a raise if he feels he deserves it.  The employer is not obligated to give him a raise in most circumstances.

The loyalty to a worker to his employer begins on the first day of work.  It is an obligation. Through time when the employee and employer build a relationship between them of honesty and respect loyalty is reinforced by admiration and caring. The employee is always free to leave his work and go to another job.  A loyal employee before he leaves his job will also consider his employer to give him proper notice and time to replace him.

Loyalty is not an obligation to the employee but the demand of the employer.  Not all employees are loyal employees. Loyalty on both sides is built over a period of time. Even the most loyal employees later on may change their minds sometimes to start their own business, or go to the monastery to learn to become a priest or move to Israel.

Loyalty can sometimes be an obligation without freedom.  A dictatorship requires its citizens to be loyal to their rulers.  A king demands loyalty from his people. The loyalty of the people can be reinforced by the law of the country enforcing loyalty and calling disloyalty treason. Soldiers are required to be loyal to the general in command. A soldier who disobeys his commander and chief can be shot or imprisoned. A dictator has police and soldiers to enforce the law.  Loyalty is an obligation.  To break the law is a misdemeanor or a felony according to the severity of the offense. There is no nation without laws.  A nation without laws is an anarchy.

Augustus, the emperor of Rome.  The imperial cult of ancient Rome identified Roman emperors with divinely sanctioned authority.

People may hate their nation for many reasons selfish and unselfish.  In Venezuela the people hate Maduro because they are suffering poverty.  The doctrine of the communist party in America established in 1919 is against the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of America.  They are citizens of America but not loyal citizens. Democracy does not require loyalty but it does require its citizens to obey the law. A dictatorship requires loyalty and will not accept citizens to be free. Madura is a dictator.  There is in his nation an opposition government looking to overthrow him.

The nation of Israel began after the events recorded in the Bible in the book of Exodus.  Moses their leader gave to Joshua and the elders the law of the nation of Israel.  The children of Israel entered the land of Israel.  After conquering the land which took over 400 years they established the Kingship of Israel and King Solomon the third King of Israel built the holy temple in Jerusalem which stood for over four hundred years.  In examining the laws of the nation of Israel at the time of their glory, the nation was a monarchy reinforcing the laws of the nation which were considered to be the word of God given to the Jewish people by Moses.  Moses gave them a doctrine called the Five Books of Moses with instructions orally how to build their nation.  Loyalty was a requirement enforced by the government. The children of Israel which entered the land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua swore by oath to follow the Law of Moses.  They agreed to accept the Law of Moses blindly before even beginning to study the law.

The requirement of loyalty to the law is still part of Judaism as a religion even though the nation was dissolved 2000 years ago after being conquered by the Romans.  The nation exists on paper and there are still followers of the Law of Moses remnants of the Jews who lived in the land of Israel before the destruction of the temple. Part of the law is not to change its statutes called commandments of God.  Strictly observant religious Jews in Israel cannot be loyal to the Modern State of Israel because this is called dual loyalty and treason according to the statutes of the Old Testament. The members of the communist party in America are not loyal to America but required to follow the law. Democracy does not require loyalty.  Not all employees are loyal to their employers but if they do not do their jobs they can be fired.

Communists preach communism.  Socialism which came before Communism preaches socialism in America.  They are allowed to preach their philosophies but if they will begin a revolution even a democratic government is allowed to prosecute them.  Also in Israel recently a member of the government from the religious right wing party openly announced that he supports for Israel to become again a Theocracy according to the Law of Moses. Orthodox religious Jews pray three times a day to return to the Theocracy of Biblical times.  The political power of the Orthodox Jews has grown.  They are part of the government but still far from the majority. Netanyahu won the elections but failed to make a government because he wanted the Orthodox to be in his government.

All the nations of the world began as dictatorships. Freedom democracy is new.  Israel was ruled by kings of the house of David. The king of Israel according to Biblical law did not call himself God but recognized God as above him. Rome was ruled by Augustus pictured above who was considered a theocrat to have divine authority.  Almost all dictators claim divine authority.  Judaism claims that the law of the nation of Israel was given to them by God the creator of the universe.  The Law of Moses and the religion has kept the Jewish people and their nation alive until today when was established the State of Israel.  The State of Israel was not established as a theocracy but as a democracy.  A large percent of Jews in Israel are orthodox which gives the orthodox political power.  The status of being a Jew which gives Jews automatic citizenship in Israel is based upon the Old Testament.  Israel cannot completely divorce its nation from Judaism.  The founders of America established America as a nation under God with liberty and justice forever.  The constitution allows separation of church a state.  The foundation of religion in America is weaker than in Israel. Christmas and Thanksgiving are still national holidays in America. Israel respects the Sabbath and Jewish holidays as days of rest from work.

A religion can demand loyalty from its followers even in a democracy.  A general commander in chief of the Army can demand loyalty from his soldiers. An employer in a democracy demands loyalty from his employees but loyalty is built over time through a relationship between employer and employee. A socialist or communist state as an employer can enforce loyalty from its workers since they are the only employer. Some people claim loyalty only to God. These people sometimes get prosecuted for their convictions. Judaism can claim that God and the Torah law are one but not all Jews agree. Avigdor Lieberman from the right secular party in Israel does not agree and he outwardly stated in his opposition to Orthodox Jewish demands. Also the Jewish prophets Jerimiah and Isaiah disagreed and called for a new law and a new covenant.  They were both oppressed by the establishment.  Law and order is important.  You can be loyal to God alone and not to your nation and its laws and be a good citizen in a free society. However be careful not to break the law. There is no obligation to be religious today, but for sure you should not be wicked. It is all left over to your conscience. The sacred law today teaches Be Loyal to God as the first precept, the universal Law, “I am the Lord your God.”. Each nation has its own laws.  Each nation demands loyalty.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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