I might start by asking myself, what need does religion fulfill for me? As this is a very profound and personal question, needing to be explored with considerable perusal, I will refrain from answering at this time. I can at least mention that, for myself, answering this question would involve returning to the time when I first began to explore my traditional religious roots. I will proffer to say, that for each individual, the answer will be different. Even so, I believe that the kinds of questions that Heschel referred to in his book, G-d in Search of Man, are of a universal nature. Irrespective of the extreme likelihood that he addresses these questions later in his book (I am only on chapter one), I feel compelled to explore the issue, while continuing to read.
Therefore, on a more traditional note, a starting point could be made, regarding the first commandment – understood as the commandment to believe that G-d exists. Furthermore, it is understood that belief in G-d is required, in order to accept the commandments as having been derived from a divine authority; without making this connection, morals become subject to relativity. Therefore, it could be said that belief in G-d, concomitant with the Revelation at Sinai, may provide an adequate response to the question of how to form values that will stand over time as consistent, universal, and edifying.
The Ten Commandments, in and of themselves, are sometimes referred to as the moral commandments, as if they can be designated as such, thereby separating them from the rest of the commandments. This is an oversimplification, that would not stand up to the test of further examination. Yet, it is clear that these commandments are mostly held in common with those found in the justice systems of Western Civilization. Again, the main difference being, that from a religious perspective, the Ten Commandments were given by divine authority, thereby making their observance incumbent upon mankind to a lesser or greater degree. Primarily, because they were given to B’nei Yisrael (the Children of Israel), the Jewish people are bound to their observance.