In v’Etchanan we once again are told the Ten Commandments:
- I am Yud-hey-vov-hey, your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
- Don’t have other gods. Don’t make any carved images, and don’t spread yourself flat before them.
Many scholars say that, today, idols are not just figures made of gold or stone. They are anything you put above God, such as fame, money or power.
Don’t take up the name of God for emptiness (a false purpose)
This could mean don’t swear. But many Jews feel you should not use the name for anything but prayer or Torah study, in case you’re tempted to use it “for emptiness”.
- Keep the Sabbath. Not only should you not work, but your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey and your guest should not work. They should rest, as you do.
A very gentle and kind law!
- Honor your father and your mother
There’s a Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 39:7) that says that it was only after his father died that Abraham was told to go up to Canaan. This was so that people should not say: “What kind of a son is this that leaves his old father all alone?” (source: Aish.com)
But you don’t have to submit to a cruel parent, because the Torah commands us to take care of our own welfare. (source: Aish.com)
- Don’t murder
This can include hurting someone with unkind words or actions. “Whoever whitens (shames) the face of another in public it is as if he spilled his blood.” (R. Noah Mindes)
- Don’t commit adultery
- Don’t steal
- Don’t testify against your neighbor with lies (bear false witness)
As Robert J. Matthews (a Mormon) points out, we can also be guilty of bearing false witness if we stay silent when that leads people to a wrong deduction.
- Don’t covet (desire) your neighbor’s wife, his house, his field, his servant – even his donkey.
It’s hard not to want things. According to Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt, the Sages explain that the ban on coveting only occurs when you begin to plot how you could get it from the other person.
Food for Thought
Why does God say “I am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt”, when God could have said “I am the God Who created the heavens and the earth”?