On Shavuot morning, 3,333 years ago, Heaven kissed Earth, and G‑d communicated the 10 Commandments upon Mount Sinai. Every year we relive that experience when we read of this event (as it is recorded in the Book of Exodus) from the Torah during Shavuot morning services.

This year again, even as many have returned to synagogue, some of us will still be reading the 10 Commandments ourselves, as our own living spaces have become our places of worship.

When: The ideal time for this reading is on Shavuot morning (May 17), as part of the services. However, it may be read later in the day as well.

Who: Every single Jewish woman, man and child should either read the 10 Commandments, or hear it read by someone else.

How: Since your home service is not an actual Torah reading, it may be read in Hebrew or English, or both. Have everyone stand around the designated reader, who will read the text (from Exodus 20) aloud in a clear voice. After the reading (and the conclusion of services), enjoy a celebratory dairy kiddush reception, during which you can discuss the significance of what was read and its relevance to us today.

10 Points for Discussion:

  1. Was the giving of the 10 Commandments a one-time event or something that is relevant to us today?
  2. How are these 10 Commandments different from the rest of the 613 mitzvahs of the Torah?
  3. Of all the 10 Commandments, which one do you relate to on a personal level?
  4. Why did G‑d choose to reveal Himself on a mountain? Why in the desert?
  5. How did the people feel after the experience at Sinai, and how can we recreate that for ourselves?
  6. What empowering lesson can we gain from the fact that we are celebrating Shavuot at home once again?
  7. What is the significance of 10? Where else does this number appear in Jewish tradition?
  8. What meaning does the Giving of the Torah have to non-Jews?
  9. Why was the Giving of the Torah accompanied by thunder, lightning and shofar blasts?
  10. Why isn’t Mount Sinai revered by Jewish people as a sacred place today?

Please print these questions (as well as other holiday reading material) prior to the onset of the holiday.