Torah Portion: Yisro
I am Hashem your God, who brought you out of Egypt, from the place of slavery (Shemos 20:2).
It is a positive commandment to believe that the world has one God, Who brought all existence into being and that it was by His power and His will that everything came to be — all that was, that is, and that will be for time eternal; and that He brought us out from the land of Egypt and gave us the Torah. For it is stated at the beginning of the giving of the Torah: I am [anochi] Hashem your God, who brought you out of Egypt, from the place of slavery (Shemos 20:2). The meaning of the verse is to be understood as if it said, “Know and believe that the world has a God,” for the word anochi, “I am” implies existence. And when it says who brought you out of Egypt it means to teach that you should not let your heart be led astray to take the matter of your liberation from the slavery of Egypt and the plagues that afflicted the Egyptians as something that happened by chance. Rather, know that it is I who took you out through My desire and providence — as Hashem had promised our Forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.
The root of this commandment does not need elaboration; it is obvious to all that this belief is the foundation of the Jewish Faith, and that anyone who does not believe this denies the main principle and has no portion or merit within the Jewish People.
The mitzvah of “Faith” means that a person should affirm in his mind that this is the truth and that it is impossible that it be otherwise whatsoever. And should the person be questioned about it, he must answer every such questioner that this is what he believes in his heart; he should never acknowledge anything else in its stead, even if others should wish to kill him [for it]. For all this strengthens and firmly implants belief into one’s heart — when one transforms the potential [of faith] into something actual, i.e., when he affirms with the words of his mouth what he has affirmed in his heart.
This commandment applies in all places and at all times, to both men and woman. One who transgresses this has no portion or merit among Israel. It is one of the commandments that has no specific time; one’s whole life he [or she] must live with this thought.