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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 (35)
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
March 23, 2015
re. are all 10 commandments equal?
What do you mean by equal?

They are equal in the sense that Jewish people need to follow all 10 of them (plus the other 603 commandments and their related rules).
According to most opinions, all the commandments are equally important and in any case we have to keep them all, regardless of what seems more important. There are three cardinal sins which we must die rather than commit, all the others we do not need to die for, so in some sense those three are more important.
You could generally say that the first commandment is the most important because you need the belief in G-d, and the belief that He gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai and to Israel, to be the underlying reason you perform all the commandments.

The Rabbis have drawn added significance to different commandments to illustrate a philosophical point but ultimately, we have to follow all commandments and we do not know which are more important than others, and most likely, they are all equally important. One example: Rabbi Hillel said “love thy neighbour as thyself – this is the greatest commandment” – but that is just to illustrate the point that the commandments fall into 2 general categories (a) between man and G-d; and (b) between man and man, and whilst both are essential, the second category is more important on one level, because G-d will forgive you if you repent sincerely, but there is no guarantee with man. Also, man can be hurt by your not being nice to him, but G-d of course can never be hurt by your not following His commandments because He is in no way deficient.

Ultimately, the reward two people get for following the same commandment will almost certainly differ. We are judged subjectively based on our individual circumstances, not against some objective standard. So for example: if I steal a sweet from a shop I might get minus 10 points, but if a starving person who’s parents are robbers steals a sweet, he might get minus 1 point only for not stealing 2 sweets! So we can’t tell the reward. We all have to follow all the commandments we can.
Ben Finger
London, UK
March 22, 2015
are all 10 commandments equal?
February 2, 2015
re. Richard DiNaso

The 10 Commandments are mentioned twice in the Torah (aka the Bible, aka the Five Books of Moses), once in Exodus 20:1-17 and once in Deuteronomy 5:4-21.

The 10th commandment in the first instance is:

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor.”

(coincidentally, Jews all around the world will read this chapter this Sabbath in synagogue!)

and in the second instance is:

"And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor shall you desire your neighbor's house, his field, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor".

These are just translations though, because the original is in Biblical Hebrew.

In Judaism, we believe that these 10 commandments are directed at the Jewish people and non-Jewish people instead only have to worry about the 7 Noahide Laws, which are similar.

I hope that helps!
Ben Finger
London, UK
January 30, 2015
10 commandments
I have read different ten commandments. From the Torah, to Catholic , to Protestant and they are different.

an example is... Thou shall not covet, vs thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife, nor goods.

Covetousness is covetousness, so which is correct. I can see why we are in bondage and the L-d wants us out of bondage to this world of thinking so which is correct /
Richard DiNaso
Myrtle Beach, SC