The first words of the Ten Commandments are Anochi Havaya Elokecha, “I am G‑d your G‑d."1 The Midrash2 says that the word anochi is from the Egyptian language.

This is difficult to understand this because the Ten Commandments encapsulate the whole Torah. As Rav Saadia Gaon3 tells us that “it encapsulates all of the mitzvot. That is also the reason the Ten Commandments have 620 letters, representing the 613 biblical mitzvot and seven rabbinical mitzvot.4

In the Ten Commandments itself, every one of us heard the first two, "I Am G‑d your G‑d..." and "You shall not have any other gods before Me,"5 directly from G‑d.6 The first two commandments themselves encapsulate all of the mitzvahs. "I Am G‑d your G‑d..." which is an imperative command, represents the 248 positive commandments. And "you shall not have any other gods before Me," which is a prohibition, represents the 365 negative commandments.

Within the first two, Anochi is the greater of the two, because it's only about G‑d, while the next one only applies to one who has considered worshiping other gods.

The first three words of Anochi, Havaya and Elokecha represent three different ways G‑d relates to the world.

Havaya surrounds the world. It is the creative force that makes the world exist. However, that light is too great for the physical world to handle. Elokecha is the same as Elokim. It acts like a shield that protects the world by translating the light of Havaya, filling every part of existence with the exact amount of the light it needs, and thereby allowing nature to exist. Havaya is the G‑dly force of existence. Elokim allows for nature to exist.

Anochi is "who I am,"7 the essence of G‑d, higher than both Havaya and Elokim. According to the Zohar,8 the word anochi itself encapsulates the whole Torah. Why is the essence of G‑d, in the Ten Commandments, represented by an Egyptian word?!

The question becomes stronger if you consider the hierarchy of languages.9 The Torah is written in the Holy Language, the highest of all. It is called the Holy Language because it doesn't have words for inappropriate things.10 The terms commonly used are borrowed from other languages.

The lowest of all languages is from the most licentious11 and degenerate society of all time, ancient Egypt. Anochi, which is the essence of G‑d, is written in the lowest of all languages, Egyptian. Why?

The Midrash12 says that the main thing that happened with the Giving of the Torah is that "what is above could now go below, and what is below could now go above." And that is the mission of the Jewish people, to infuse the physical with G‑dliness through using the physical for Torah and mitzvot, and even more than that, to do our daily mundane activities for G‑d, to "acknowledge Him in all your ways."13

How far does this have to go? How important is this to our mission?

G‑d tells us in the first word of the Ten Commandments, and the first word He ever said to us, Anochi. G‑d wants us to bring His deepest essence into the lowest of places, into even what represents the extreme low, the Egyptian language.

And that is what Moses responded to the angels who wanted the Torah to stay in heaven: "Did you go down to Egypt?"14 Are you able to draw the essence of G‑d into the lowest physical place? He doesn't want to be in heaven, but on earth, to be revealed in the lowest levels.

It is not enough to keep the letter of the Torah law. We need to, "Acknowledge Him in all our ways." If not, it brings destruction, the direct opposite, heaven forfend, as our sages tell us, "Jerusalem was only destroyed because they established their laws in accordance with Torah law,"15 and not more. It is not enough to seal ourselves in a cocoon of Torah. We need to go into the world and bring G‑d's ways into the most mundane activities. We need to "Acknowledge Him in all our ways."

It is the same in our relationships. It is not enough to follow the letter of the law. It is not enough to do just what is expected. You have to have a heart and be a mentch. You have to love your spouse in every way.

If we "acknowledge Him in all our ways," if we bring G‑d into everything we do, even the most mundane, we will surely merit to see the rebuilding of Jerusalem, with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.16