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Have you read the Ten Commandments lately?

מעמד הר סיני
ציור: יואל וקסברגר, מלכות וקסברגר

In this week's Torah portion of Yitro, the nation of Israel receives the Ten Commandments. Here is a reminder of their content:

1. "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt." God directs history which progresses in a positive direction, from slavery to freedom.

2.  "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image or picture." It is forbidden to make any physical object for idol worship.

3.  "You shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."  Every word is laden with significance and holy words, especially, may not be spoken without a holy purpose. Speech has divine significance.

4.  "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Our weekly day of rest is more precious than all the gold and silver on earth. Everyone deserves a weekly break from the frenetic rat race.  As financial pressures and digital demands increase, the more vital Shabbat becomes.

5.  "Honor thy father and thy mother." The world belongs not to the young, but to the experienced. Each generation needs to honor and respect the generation that came before it. Children need to be grateful to parents for their tireless efforts in raising and educating them. In this way, the younger generation will merit that, one day, their children will honor and respect them too.

6.  "Thou shalt not murder." To our dismay, daily news reports show that all of humanity has not yet internalized this basic prohibition. Only this week, Lidar Swisa was murdered by a neighbor in the city of Lod.

7. "Thou shalt not commit adultery." In a culture of incessant channel switching, this reminds us of the importance of fidelity. The marriage bond is holy, and we are enjoined not to violate it.

8.  "Thou shalt not steal." The property of others is holy. This prohibition, along with the others found here, is meant to establish a world with boundaries. "Thou shalt not" are the key words of the Ten Commandments. To know how to say "no," to rein in unhealthy and destructive inclinations.

9.  "Thou shalt not bear false witness." In a fake news and post-truth era, when everyone has their own narrative to promote, this is a demand not to tell lies in court or anywhere else.

10. "Thou shalt not covet." Social media is full of opportunities to covet, to be jealous and desire what we do not have. Our neighbor's story, like their grass, is always greener. Here is a call not to be distracted by what others have, but to focus on our portion and to rejoice in it.

It is said that every year at this time we stand once again at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive these eternal commandments. All are invited to carefully read them too.

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