Parshas Yisro – The Ten Commandments

CHAPTER 20:

And G-d spoke all these “devorim” words.  The ten commandments are called the Asseres Hadibros.  RASHI:  G-d said all ten commandments in one utterance.

[side note, folks, just some food for thought:  ten sefirot, ten utterances to create the world, ten commandments, etc.  Synchronized world.  Why all ten commandments in one utterance?  Don’t try to tease apart your observance and decide which one is “relevant” to you — by doing so you are inherently destroying everything — one cannot be pulled out and ignored — it is “one utterance”]

 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

  • I AM THE LORD YOUR G-D WHO TOOK YOU OUT OF EGYPT FROM THE HOUSE OF SLAVERY.

Acceptance of G-d is the first commandment.

  • YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY OTHER gods BEFORE ME. DON’T MAKE GRAVEN IMAGES AND DON’T BOW DOWN TO THEM OR SERVE THEM.

No worship of anything other than G-d.

  • DON’T TAKE THE NAME OF G-D IN VAIN

You can’t swear with G-d’s name for trifling matters and can’t swear falsely.  (that is why Jews who are in a court will say “I affirm” rather than “I swear”)

  • REMEMBER THE DAY OF SHABBOS TO SANCTIFY IT.  SIX WEEKS WORK AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY, IT IS A DAY FOR G-D AND YOU DON’T DO ANY WORK, NOT YOU, YOUR SON, DAUGHTER, SERVANTS, ANIMALS OR STRANGER WHO LIVES WITHIN YOUR GATES BECAUSE G-D MADE THE HEAVEN AND EARTH AND ALL THEREIN IN SIX DAYS AND ON THE SEVENTH HE RESTED – THEREFORE G-D BLESSED THIS DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT.

There are two places in the Bible where the ten commandments are written.  In one place it says, Watch the Shabbos and here it says Remember the Shabbos.  Watch the Shabbos means make sure you don’t transgress the negative commandments associated with Shabbos – such as lighting a fire, etc.   Remember the Shabbos means you need to keep the positive commandments of Shabbos – candle-lighting, Kiddush, Challos, serving delicious foods, wearing nicer clothing, etc.

Don’t do any work:  this means the work that was done to assemble the Tabernacle and is therefore classified as work according to the laws of Sabbath.  We don’t define what is work vis a vis Shabbos.  There are 39 categories of labor that are considered work.

Keeping Shabbos testifies that we know G-d created the world and is master of it.

  • HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.                                                                                     The obligation is to honor and respect.  Note it doesn’t command us to love them.  But honor and respect, take care of them, give them credit for bringing you into this world and nurturing you, that is a total must.
  • DON’T MURDER.
  • DON’T COMMIT ADULTERY.
  • DON’T STEAL (KIDNAP)

This commandment is only about stealing people, not about stealing possessions.  Stealing is wrong, but is not liable for the death penalty and is not one of the ten commandments.  Not stealing a soul is one of the ten commandments.

  • DON’T BE A FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR PEER.
  • DON’T COVET THE HOUSE OF YOUR PEER, HIS WIFE, HIS SERVANTS, HIS CATTLE OR ANY OF HIS POSSESSIONS.

Any person transgressing the ten commandments is liable for the death penalty.

The ten commandments work five on each side, the first side is between man and G-d commandments and the second side is between man and man.  The two align.  For example, the first on the first side is “I am G-d.”  The first on the second side is “Don’t Murder.”  Each person is created in the image of G-d – when we murder we are destroying an image of G-d.

The second on side 1 is:  no idol worship – on side 2 the second one is no adultery.  G-d considers idol worship to be like an adulterous relationship.  We are supposed to be in an exclusive relationship with G-d, just as we are to do in our marriages.

Third on side 1 is:  Don’t swear falsely and on side 2 the third is don’t kidnap – a man once came to the rabbi and said “I’m a thief – that is the one thing I won’t change about myself, but I’ll take on any other commandment you tell me to do.”  So the rabbi said, ‘never say a lie’.  The man came back months later, a reformed person, no longer a robber.  When asked why, he said he realized that in order not to lie, he had to stop stealing, because if he were not to lie, if ever he was asked in court whether he robbed, he would have to admit to his crimes and he would be put away for life – so because he would not swear falsely, he knew he could no longer rob.

Side 1, the fourth commandment is the Sabbath – Side 2, the fourth commandment is not to testify falsely.  By keeping Shabbos we testify to the world that we know G-d created the world.  When we don’t keep Shabbos we testify falsely.

Side 1, the last commandment is honor your parents, Side 2 is not to covet – G-d gives each one of us the circumstances, down to the parents we need to have, down to the possessions we need for our own mission in life.   We cannot look at anyone else’s stuff – we have what we need for our own unique mission in life.

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About jewishspectacles

Jewish Spectacles-the kind you look through, not the kind you create!
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