Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Aseres HaDibros -- Instructions for Eternity

I have had many conversations with my children.  I said many, many things that should not have been said.  I am also confident that there conversations I should have had, but didn't.  There is one conversation that I didn't have, however, that I am confident that there will be no complaint against me in heaven.  Here's the conversation that I didn't have with any of my children:
Thank you, dear child, for meeting with me today.  You are going out into the world soon and I feel an urgent need to give you my feelings on certain matters.  I appreciate that you prepared, as I asked, and have come today with all due seriousness to have this life critical conversation.  My dear child, I do not want you to be a murderer.
I did not have that conversation because it never in my wildest imagination even occurred to me  that I needed to have that conversation.  I mean, if a parent needs to have that conversation, perhaps there are other conversation and/or interventions that need to happen.

Yet, that's precisely what seems to have happened at Har Sinai.  The Creator/Author of reality invited His treasured nation to prepare for three days for the meeting that will determine whether reality will continue to exist.  Moshe Rabeinu running back and forth with messages and replies in preparation and anticipation.  Finally the moment arrives and the Ein Sof -- using the title "Elokim" (midas haDin) to emphasize that this is not philosophy, this is serious business that carries with it severe punishment for non-compliance -- proceeds to tell them, "Thou Shalt Not Murder!"

Rashi tells us that the entire Aseres haDibros was said with one dibur, then HaShem repeated them one at a time with explanation.  The Targum Yonason expands to say that besides the obvious exhortation and injunction, each actually meant to foster a society built on the positives in such a way that the negatives couldn't even happen.  The S'porno says that each dibur included all of it's "toldos"; murder includes embarrassing someone in public, stealing includes delaying payment, adultery includes not averting your eyes from breaches in tznius.

From the S'porno we see that embarrassers will be tried along with the murders, from the Targum Yonasan we see that not doing everything you can to prevent lashon hara will also get your tried with the murderers.  From Rashi we see that none of this will be a suprise; it was all explained.  Since, as Chazal tell us, each of our neshamos were there... we all individually and collectively signed up with a resounding "na'aseh v'nishma".

Seems like a lot?  Infinite reward doesn't come cheap.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…