Aseret Ha-Dibrot” - “The Ten Commandments”

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On this site I will mostly use a version based on the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) of the Torah/Tanakh

Although some minor alterations have been made relating to names and attributes having been corrected.

Please Note: Verse numbers may at times vary in non Jewish Bibles.

The “Ten Commandments”

“Aseret Hadibrot”

Shemot - Exodus 20:2-17 and Devarim - Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

Aseret Hadibrot has also been translated as “the Ten Words”, “the Ten Sayings” or “the Ten Matters”.

With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

One of my favourite Torah portions is “Yitro” where we the Israelites received the “Ten Commandments” “Aseret Ha-Dibrot” - . There is so much more in these commandments than what we tend to think, and we all know what these commands contain, but have you ever thought about the way it was made up?

Did you know that there are 620 letters in “Aseret Ha-Dibrot” - ? Like everything there is a specific reason for this. Not every one is aware that it is made up of a certain number of letters and it is all very significant. Let me explain; 1. there are 613 letters and of course this number refer to our 613Mitzvot” – “Commandments” which we are blessed with in the Torah, and then there are the other 7 and they refer to the 7 days of Creation, and this is called perfection!

Aseret Ha-Dibrot -  contains ten of the most important commandments which we Jews should faithfully follow. Of course some are rather obvious such as “Lo Tir’sach” - - “do not murder”, but some may be more challenging. For instance; “Oy’vey I really love his car, he is so lucky and it is electric, but I just can’t afford it”.

However, we Jews, we have carried - the Ten Commandments for thousands of years, and their meaning may have shifted somewhat. For thankfully, we are no longer a nation on that long (single Generation) 40-year journey through the  wilderness constantly complaining and it was only Yahushua – Joshua and Kalev - Caleb together with the next generation who were permitted to enter the promised land. Unlike our people in the past, we are not a strictly agricultural people and we do not have kings and sadly we don’t even have a Temple, and now most of us live all over the world in lands that were completely unknown to our forebears. And yet, todah rabah, we still have our beloved “Aseret Ha-Dibrot” - Ten Commandments as well as the 613 Mitzvoth in our beloved Torah!

Thus, how should we approach the Ten Commandments? Before cracking open Shemot - Exodus, you should write down your 10 most important rules for life. I have asked this question of others, and some of the things written was to say the least, ‘a bisl mashuga (Yiddish for a little crazy), but I will not go into that!

After some of them had written a list, I then share the Ten Commandments and tried to reconcile that with their list. Their list also had a popular one that said “taking care of planet earth” and that some felt actually edged out the “don’t covet”. One person said to me once; “But it does mean the understanding has evolved?” My answer was, “What you are saying that Elohim’s is ever changing, and thus so must the Ten Commandments be. The truth is very clear, He has told us that He never changes!” and we should have been taking care of the earth anyway, as it was His gift to us in the first place, and in general mankind has let Elohim down, for the Torah has given us means of how to care for the land, and frankly men have let it run into ruin!

Aseret Ha-Dibrot” -  - the “Ten Commandments”


I pray that our children are taught all about the Ten Commandments, although I am not sure how they relate to it, but I pray that they have good and faithful parents that ensure they will follow the right path in order whatever they go on to do as adults, they use their religious education to encourage the creation of a society built on truth, reason, freedom, justice, and peace. And I hope that I have been able to bring a little additional perspective to our sacred and ancient words given by our Creator!

Always remember our motto seen on the logo at the top of this page: “The More Torah, the More Life”, for  Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, is the one who gave us our Life!”

Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.


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