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The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments


1. "I am the Lord your G‑d, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

2. "You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, nor any manner of likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them. For I the Lord your G‑d am a jealous G‑d, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children of the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

3. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your G‑d in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.

4. "Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord your G‑d. On it you shall not do any manner of work -- you, your son, your daughter, your man-servant, your maid-servant, your cattle, and your stranger that is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day, and hallowed it.

5. "Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your G‑d gives you.

6. "You shall not murder.

7. "You shall not commit adultery.

8. "You shall not steal.

9. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his manservant, his maid-servant, his ox, his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

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Discussion (39)
August 12, 2016
I am happy to hear about your recent spiritual awakening and your observance of Shabbat. Torah has many layers to it, and can inspire us at many different levels. If one aspect of a Mitzvah doesn't resonate with us, another layer may. Perhaps that is the why the very Torah that gives the reason for Shabbat because He rested on the seventh day also says (Deut. 5:15) "...remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God took you out from there... therefore, the Lord, your God, commanded you to observe the Sabbath day." In other words, we celebrate Shabbat to commemorate that G-d released us from servitude to others. Therefore, even if you cannot relate to the reason for Shabbat that "G-d rested" from creation, there are other reasons for Shabbat which can inspire you. That being said, even science does not necessarily conflict with creation as stated in the Torah - you can see here about this.
Simcha Bart for
August 9, 2016
The Sabbath
I have trouble understanding as to the reasoning we should observe the sabbath. The fourth commandment states that it took G-d six days to create the earth and rested on the seventh. However, I grew up a man of science and science has proven that it took millions of years to create the earth. Recent spritual awakenings have brought me more in touch with my religion, and I observed the sabbath religiously for 10 months. I observe it now in my own way but still am curious as for the commandment's reasoning as to why it should be observed. I am not one to ignore the accomplishments of modern science, yet I want to be a good Jew at the same time.
David H
June 22, 2016
Re: 10 Commandments
It is true that "Ten Commandments" is only a loose translation of "Aseret Hadibrot," albeit one that people are familiar with.
The Ten Commandments were not meant to be exhaustive, as there are 613 commandments in the Torah. Immoral acts are indeed abhorred by the Torah. However, we should not expect the Torah to express itself in terms that have only lately come into popular use. There is no reason to assume that those are the best ways to categorize what is morally bad. Also see Torah Slavery and the Jews and Does the Torah promote genocide
The Torah was not given all in a single sitting, but was completed over forty years. See also How did the Torah exist before it happened
On the Oral Torah see What is the Oral Torah?
Indeed, those laws that have a rabbi's name attached to them are not considered to be directly from Moses.
Rabbi Shmary Brownstein
June 8, 2016
The 10 Commandments
The concept of "10 commandments" since there is no equivalent expression in Judaism, as far as I know. עשרת הדיברות means "the 10 utterances", not "the 10 commandments."

Why is there no commandment not to enslave, rape or commit genocide? All of those actions, in one way or another, are sanctioned by God, yet as 21st century human beings, we all know that they are immoral, reprehensible and subject to severe punishment.

Just exactly what is alleged to have transpired at Mt. Sinai? What is meant by "receiving the Torah"? Did the Jewish people receive a hand written, complete sefer torah? If the Oral Tradition was given there also, why, throughout the Mishneh and Gemara, are all statements made in the name of rabbi so and so? If God gave us the Oral Tradition, should not all statements of halacha be prefaced with "God said at Sinai"? If God didn't provide the rules, then who did?
Adiv Abramson
May 25, 2016
'take' and 'vain'
Came here looking for deeper meanings of 'take' and 'vain' in #3, which has puzzled me for about half a century. Then I saw the parallel 'five things' version. Then I saw 'take' as in marriage, and then I saw not ten, and not five, but one.
January 4, 2016
To covet?
In Hebrew, the word is "chamad" which means "take" rather than "covet." Commonly accepted translations are often suspect, as with "murder" rather than "kill."
April 16, 2015
re : are all commandments equal ?
Thank you Ben, for the clarification.
anonymous gentile
April 16, 2015
Re: are all 10 commandments equal?
'anonymous gentile' - your comments are correct.

(p.s. it is not only the Sabbath that can be violated to save a life (including your own) - any of the 613 commandments can be violated to save a life, except for the 3 cardinal sins.)
Ben Finger
April 12, 2015
are all 10 commandments equal
one exception I know of is that a Jewish person may discontinue the Sabbath temporarily in order to help save a life. eg. If I was hanging off a 200m cliff by one hand and an orthodox rabbi happened to walk by, it's most likely that he would help me even if it is Sabbath.
anonymous gentile
April 12, 2015
Re: are all 10 commandments equal?
One of the expressions I 've read about the Mitzvot is that each one is like a fiber from a single rope which connects the Jewish soul and G-d.
You keep the commandments so as not to sever this bond, and one must cleave to G-d.
Although a gentile I've been visiting for about 3 years and have never heard or read a comment by a rabbi or a rebettzin(a wife of a rabbi) that says one mitzvah has more value than the other . I think it also says in either the Oral tradition or the Pirkei Avot (sorry memorizing is not one of my gifts) that one should not compare the value of each mitzvah. But as Ben commented Gentiles can follow the 7 Noachide laws, unlike christianity which says if one does not accept their beliefs "salvation" cannot be attained. In Judaism individual salvation is not the point, Tikun Olam (a kind of collective salvation , betterment of the world and the coming of the moshiach) is.
anonymous gentile