The Ten Commandments, Part I

January 31, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, January 31, 2014.

The Ten Commandments, Part I

The Sabbath has been so important to the Jewish tradition that it is mentioned in the Ten Commandments  -Commandment # 4. What is interesting is that the Ten Commandments are mentioned twice in the Torah, but the wording of the commandment each time it appears is different! In Exodus (20:8), we are told: "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." However, in Deuteronomy, we are told "Guard the Sabbath Day to keep it holy."

Remember? Guard? How could it be two different wordings? Doesn’t it have to be one or the other? “That was the

To help explain how there are two different words (Remember and Guard), the rabbis told a tale. The two versions can be understood by the parable of a King who handed his son a coin and a flask, and sent him to the storekeeper. On the way, the son broke the flask and lost the coin. So the King reprimanded his son and gave him replacements. “Take care that you don’t lose these as you lost the others!” the King told him. In the same way, when the Israelites worshipped the Golden Calf in the wilderness, they lost the first Shabbat commandment, and didn’t “Remember” the Sabbath. God gave them the commandment again and told them to “Guard” the Sabbath. miracle of the giving of the Torah,” said the Rabbis. God said the commandment only once, but it could be heard in two different ways. In the “Lecha Dodi” that we say at the beginning of the Friday evening service, it says: Shamor V’Zachor b’dibbur echad: “Guard” and “Remember” in ONE WORD.

Shabbat Shalom