Yitro 2016 Jan 30 / 20 Shevat, 5776

Parashat (Torah portion) Yitro contains the Aseret HaDibrot, literally the Ten Words, but known more commonly as the Ten Commandments. Actually, one of them is not a commandment at all. The first commandment: “Anochi Adonai Elohecha asher hotzeiticha mei’eretz Mitzrayim mibeit avadim,” “I am Adonai your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,” (Ex 20:2) is the first of the ten, but it does not command us to do anything. Or does it? Torah commentators debate the question. For example Abravanel says this verse is just an introduction to the 9 commandments that follow — to let the people of Israel know who is the One commanding them. (Should we have been talking about the “9 Commandments” all this time?!) But Maimonides says that this verse is commanding us to believe in God. Can a person be commanded to believe? We will be exploring the Ten Commandments in a congregational discussion at 7:30pm Shabbat services this Friday. Come and engage in the dialogue!

Exodus 18:1–20:23