Declaration of Independence


Hi Rabbi,

In the American Declaration of Independence, it famously states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Is this the view of the Torah? Thank you



  1. The lofty ideals in the Declaration of Independence and the reference to their Source truths as being the Creator, are certainly praiseworthy and seemingly correct. However, with all due respect, a couple of points must be clarified in order that this important document should not be seen to be “in disagreement” with the view of the Torah.

    What is the definition of “liberty”? According to the Torah view, the definition of liberty cannot be to be free to do anything we want without regard for moral behavior and adherence to the ways and values of the Torah. Therefore, if liberty means that each individual has the right and opportunity to follow the way of God, this is certainly consistent with the Torah view of the world and our lives.

    The same is true for the “pursuit of happiness.” If happiness is my being able to have what I want, whenever I want, then this is not the Torah viewpoint. The Torah’s concept of pursuing happiness is to be involved in doing acts of kindness and trying to make the world a better place to live in (according to the Torah’s definition of “a better place”). Pursuit of happiness in this manner is certainly consistent with the Torah viewpoint. Many people I know refer to this definition of happiness as “Torah happiness.”

    As with many slogans and sayings, there is sometimes a disparity between their lofty and beautiful words (which are often “fluffy”) and the Torah view of a moral, Monotheistic life according to the way the Creator has taught us since the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

    Best wishes from the Team