I thought it might be nice to do a Judaism 101 post, you know, a back-to-the-basics kind of thing.
The Ten Commandments are a pretty basic part of Jewish belief. After all, whatever I’m posting on these Torah Tuesdays posts can be linked back to these commandments in some way. Indeed, we learn that every single mitzvah has its roots in the Ten Commandments.
As fundamental as these commandments are, I really don’t think about them all that much. However, leading up to the high holidays, I thought it would be useful to review them, to concentrate on these basic tenets of Judaism.
Here is a great video from Lori Palatnik which provides a cute memory device for remembering the commandments.
If you don’t feel like watching the video (though it is very cute), here’s a nice rundown of the commandments (taken from Judaism 101):
- 1. Belief in G-d
- This category is derived from the declaration in Ex. 20:2 beginning, “I am the L-rd, your G-d…”
- 2. Prohibition of Improper Worship
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:3-6, beginning, “You shall not have other gods…” It encompasses within it the prohibition against the worship of other gods as well as the prohibition of improper forms of worship of the one true G-d, such as worshiping G-d through an idol.
- 3. Prohibition of Oaths
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:7, beginning, “You shall not take the name of the L-rd your G-d in vain…” This includes prohibitions against perjury, breaking or delaying the performance of vows or promises, and speaking G-d’s name or swearing unnecessarily.
- 4. Observance of Sacred Times
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:8-11, beginning, “Remember the Sabbath day…” It encompasses all mitzvos related to Shabbos, holidays, or other sacred time.
- 5. Respect for Parents and Teachers
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:12, beginning, “Honor your father and mother…”
- 6. Prohibition of Physically Harming a Person
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not murder.”
- 7. Prohibition of Sexual Immorality
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not commit adultery.”
- 8. Prohibition of Theft
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not steal.” It includes within it both outright robbery as well as various forms of theft by deception and unethical business practices. It also includes kidnapping, which is essentially “stealing” a person.
- 9. Prohibition of Harming a Person through Speech
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” It includes all forms of lashon ha-ra (sins relating to speech).
- 10. Prohibition of Coveting
- This category is derived from Ex. 20:14, beginning, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…”
image via Wikipedia