This page was last edited on 27 February , at (UTC). Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms. The ‘Aseret haDibrot (“Ten Commandments”, as they are [inaccurately] called [ see below]), have always been a source of tension and conflict in Judaism. On the. Learn about the Jewish understanding of the Ten Commandments, known in Judaism as Aseret ha-Dibrot. Provides a Jewish perspective on the controversy.

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I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress. They’re pretty hadihrot for us. And we’re not the only ones who view them as important. During the s, hundreds of granite monuments of the Aseret HaDibrot were installed across America in parks, city halls, and courthouses.

DeMille, the director of the epic film “The Aserte Commandments,” was one of the people involved in this effort. These words changed the world when they were first presented at Mt. Sinai to the Israelites, and they are changing it now.

They are aaseret foundation stones of Western Civilization. Nevertheless, we have a tradition that there are commandments, not just ten. The question hadibfot is what makes these ten stand out. In other words, why did God present this short list in such a dramatic way at Har Sinai, calling so much attention to it that the world would never forget?

There are many ways to answer this question. I’d like to present three of them here. What makes them special is that they are simple and easy to memorise. That is because in Judaism, law is not intended for judges alone.

Tag: aseret hadibrot

The covenant at Sinai, in keeping with the profound egalitarianism at the heart of Torah, was made not as other covenants were in the ancient world, between kings. The Hadubrot covenant was made by God with the entire people. Hence the need for a simple statement of basic principles that everyone can remember and recite.


This simplicity is presumably what prompted Ronald Reagan to haeibrot the statement cited above. Lawyers and lawmakers aren’t known for being brief and succinct, to say the least.

Ten Commandments

In contrast, Commandments 6, 7, and 8 have only two words each! Nowhere else in all of Tanakh is there a pasuk verse with only two words. Often in the Chumash, a prohibition appears along with the punishment for violating it.

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin explains in his impressive summary book Biblical Literacy:. A striking feature of the Ten Commandments is the lack of judicial penalties associated with their violation. True, God promises to personally punish violators of Commandments 2 and 3, but this itself is distinctive from most biblical legislation, the violation of which is followed by a judicial punishment for example, murderers are to be executed, and thieves ordered to pay a hundred percent fine.

Bible scholar Moshe Weinfeld argues that the Ten Commandments had a more elevated purpose than merely designating the permitted, the forbidden, and the obligatory:. Anyone who does not observe these commandments excludes himself from the community of the faithful.

aseret hadibrot Archives – Rabbi Sacks

From this perspective, then, the Ten Commandments are more like the Declaration of Independence, in which listing a punishment for anyone who refuses to accept the principle that “all men are created equal” asrret be inappropriate; the rest of the Torah’s legislation, however, is more similar to that of the Constitution.

In other words, by leaving out judicial punishments from the Aseret HaDibrot, God was presenting them as a proclamation comparable to the Declaration of Independence. The Torah’s laws are similar in some ways to Ancient Near Eastern law codes, and different in other ways.

These asedet conditional laws, which typically start with “If” and proceed with “then. Every law in the Code of Hammurabi is conditional. Many of the laws in the Torah are as well.


But there’s another style of hadibrlt, which the scholars call apodictic self-evident. These are unconditional laws, which command “Do” or “Do not. For a chart that compares the differences between the two styles within the Torah, see this note: Interestingly, except for the Torah, neither ancient nor modern law codes present law in unconditional form. What are the implications for the Aseret HaDibrot? Joel Hoffman explains aderet connecting their unconditional style with the point we discussed above, their omission of punishments:.

In light of Leviticus 5, which details the punishment for theft, the Ten Commandments might seem superfluous. Why say “Don’t steal” when another part of the Bible already has a punishment for stealing? The answer is that Leviticus 5 is a legal system, while the Ten Commandments are a moral framework.

The point is that wseret is wrong.

Aseret haDibrot – definition of Aseret haDibrot by The Free Dictionary

The severity of the offense has nothing to do with getting caught or punished. So even though the Ten Commandments at first seem like modern laws, they are in fact completely different. They are different, in fact, from every other system of law. To sum up, the Aseret HaDibrot stand out and make everyone pay attention.

They are simple and easy to memorize, declarative, and unconditional. If only aserett them were equally simple! See Rabbi Michael Susman’s discussion entitled “Yitro Rob Schmitz, “The Ten Commandments: Religious or Historical Symbol?

Dennis Prager, The Ten Commandments: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Biblical Literacy: An Overlooked Source,” Vetus Testamentum The following chart is from Dr. Studies in the Book of Deuteronomy Wipf and Stock,p. Hoffman, And God Said: Rav Uri Cohen Print this Shiur. Additional shiurim from this category aserdt be found in: