The Ten Commandments

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  1. The Ten Dibrot

    Prof. Jonathan Grossman

    What are the differences between the Ten Commandments in Yitro and the Ten Commandments in Va'ethanan? This lesson focuses on the differences in the mitzva of Shabbat, while noting the dual nature of Shabbat as a commemoration of the creation and a commemoration of the Exodus.

  2. Differences between the First and Second appearances of the "Ten Commandments"

    Dr. Mordechai Sabato

    The main component of Sefer Devarim is the "commandments speech," which begins in chapter 5 and concludes at the end of chapter 26. At the outset, Moshe repeats the Ten Commandments. This shiur reviews the differences between the Ten Commandments as recorded in Sefer Shemot and as recorded in Sefer Devarim, and explores their significance.

  3. Be Holy, For I Hashem Am Holy

    Rabbi Yair Kahn | 17 minutes

    This shiur presents various ideas about what it means to "be holy" according to Parshat Kedoshim, and why the command needed to involve gathering the whole congregation of Israelites together (by exploring other instances of gathering the whole congregation). The content of the parasha is analyzed to shed some light on the above questions.

  4. The Oral Law and the Two Versions of the Ten Commandments (Audio)

    Rabbi Yitzchak Blau | 10 minutes

    The Ten Commandments in Devarim are slightly different from their presentation in Shemot. Which version was given out loud, and which appeared on the tablets? Different approaches are examined, each with fascinating ideas pertaining to revelation, prophecy, and the connection between the written and the Oral Law.

  5. "'Zakhor' And 'Shamor' Were Uttered As One Word"

    Rabbi Dr. Yoel Bin Nun

    Shabbat in the Ten Commandments in Shmot is linked to the Creation, but elsewhere in Shmot Shabbat is linked to the Exodus from Egypt. Shabbat in the Ten Commandments in Devarim is linked to the Exodus, and introduces new innovations. The central innovation is the presentation of the Exodus as the absolute source for the commandment of Shabbat.

  6. The Oral Law and the Two Versions of Ten Commandments

    Rabbi Yitzchak Blau

    What is the relationship between the Ten Commandments in Shmot and the Ten Commandments in Devarim? Were both delivered at Sinai? Were both written in the Luhot HaBrit? The Ten Commandments in Devarim might represent Moshe’s interpretation - a human perspective, or Torah She’Be’al Peh regarding the Ten Commandments in Shmot.

  7. The Structure and Significance of the Opening Verses

    Dr. Mordechai Sabato

    Parshat Re’eh opens the Covenant of Arvot Mo’av, which is concluded with blessings and curses. Brit of Arvot Mo’av – a collection of statutes and judgements - is a completion of the Ten Commandments in Horev. The observance of mitzvot entails a blessing and a curse, and the blessing and the curse are part of the conditions of the land.

  8. Remembering Sinai

    Rabbi Yair Kahn

    The threefold repetition of Ma’amad Har Sinai in Moshe’s speech stresses the centrality and complexity of that event. One central message is that Moshe is the facilitator in the transfer of the Torah to the nation. Both the Ramban and the Kuzari place Ma’amad Har Sinai as a central theological pillar.

  9. The Ten Dibrot (audio)

    Prof. Jonathan Grossman | 13 minutes

    This shiur compares the Ten Commandments as they appear in Devarim with their form in Sefer Shemot. Most significantly, there appears to be an entirely different explanation for the commandment of Shabbat. Is Moshe in his "repetition" deviating from the original commandments from the Revelation at Sinai? Why is he quoting from parashat Mishpatim instead of from parashat Yitro? What is the purpose of the disparity between Shemot and Devarim?

  10. The Closing Mitzvot

    Rabbi Alex Israel | 39 minutes

    Although many shiurim on Yitro focus on the Ten Dibrot, this shiur diverges and focuses on the maftir-- the last few pesukim of the parasha, beginning with “You yourselves have seen that I have spoken with you from the Heavens.” What is the significance of the set of laws in the pesukim that follow?

  11. Sefer Devarim, the Most ‘Misunderstood’ Book of the Bible

    Rabbi Menachem Leibtag

    תאריך פרסום: תשסט | |

    What is the purpose of Sefer Devarim? Rabbi Menachem Leibtag challenges the popular assumption that Sefer Devarim is a ‘review’ of the rest of Chumash, and proves that, in fact, Sefer Devarim is a crucial ending to the Chumash. By examining the progression from Sefer Shmot all the way to Devarim, we can see that Devarim is not a historical review; rather it details how Am Yisrael must become a nation representing God, utilizing a whole new set of laws, once they enter the land of Israel. 

  12. The Golden Calf - Ibn Ezra and Ramban

    Rabbi Chanoch Waxman

    תאריך פרסום: 2008 | | 37 minutes

    How is it possible that Am Yisrael committed the sin of the Golden Calf so soon after receiving the Torah? This shiur presents the opinions of Ibn Ezra and Ramban, who offer answers to this question from two different perspectives. Rabbi Waxman merges these two answers and sheds light on the episode of the sin of the Golden Calf, and on the role of Moshe as both the leader of Am Yisrael and as the intermediary between them and God. 

  13. Shavuot

    Rabbi Ezra Bick | 14 minutes

    According to our tradition, the Torah was given on the 6th of Sivan, the day on which we observe the holiday of Shavuot, but only received by Am Yisrael on the 7th of Sivan. By celebrating Shavuot on the day of the giving of the Torah rather than on the day of its reception (which we essentially celebrate every day when we learn Torah) we reconnect our Torah with the voice of God. 

  14. Study Questions for Tikun Leil Shavuot

    Rabbi Menachem Leibtag

    On Shavuot night, the study of Torah takes on an added dimension, as we mark the anniversary of Matan Torah. This includes not only the minhag of learning throughout the night, but also HOW we learn. In other words, our learning should be more ACTIVE than passive. Towards this end, I have opted this week to write questions for self study, as opposed to a regular ('spoon fed') shiur in the hope that they will facilitate a more active manner of learning.

    So, in case you are looking for a 'structured' learning program for Shavuot night, with or without a chavruta, I am sending out some 'preparation questions' which deal with Shavuot and Matan Torah.

  15. "The Temple of the Lord, Are These"

    Rabbi David Sabato

    Yirmiyahu addresses the "lying words" regarding the Temple's intrinsic holiness and inability to be destroyed. The people's misconception regarding the role of the Temple led them to think that they could continue to sin without repercussions. Further discussed is the connection between this chapter and the prophecy in chapter 3 regarding the Ark and the destruction of Shilo, as well as the contrast with the prophecies of Yishayahu regarding Jerusalem.

  16. Remembering Sinai (Audio)

    Rabbi Yair Kahn | 13 minutes

    The threefold repetition of Ma’amad Har Sinai in Moshe’s speech stresses the centrality and complexity of that event. One central message is that Moshe is the facilitator in the transfer of the Torah to the nation. Both the Ramban and the Kuzari place Ma’amad Har Sinai as a central theological pillar.

  17. Inseparable Pair

    Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz

  18. The Casuistic Unit in Parshat Mishpatim

    Rabbi Meir Lichtenstein | Hour and 7 minutes

    Parshat Mishpatim is comprised of casuistic laws – cases which are described as though they have already occurred and laws presented accordingly. When closely examining these laws, one can notice that there is a direct link between these laws and actual occurrences in Sefer Bereishit. Through a close comparison of Shemot and Bereishit, we learn about the relationship between our moral compass and legal discourse and how it sheds light on the stories of Bereishit and our own lives.  

  19. Ten Commandments Study Guide Staff

    Use the text below to answer the following questions. You can find a printable PDF version of the text attached. 

    1. Take a look at the blue highlighted words which are found in the first two commandments (verses 2-6). What is the difference between these commandments and the rest?


    Look at Exodus 20:15 and Rashi’s commentary on Exodus 19:19. How can these sources help us understand this difference?


    2. Count the number of commandments that you find in the text. Are there really only 10? Where does the traditional phrase of “Ten Commandments” come from?


    Look at Deuteronomy 4:13. How might we more accurately describe the “Ten Commandments” according to this verse? How is the phrase עשרת הדברים translated? Does it necessarily have to mean “commandments”?


    We can conclude that there are ten STATEMENTS, and each could contain within it more than one commandment.


    [The Sefer HaChinuch enumerates 15 separate commandments, 25-38; 416]


    Take a look at the green highlighted words. How many negative commandments can you count? How are they divided between both tablets? (the red dotted line marks the separation between the two tablets)


    3. One of the most popular opinions regarding the division of the commandments holds that the first tablet contains the commandments between man and God, while the second tablet contains the commandments between man and fellow man. Look at the yellow and purple highlighted words. What can we infer about the theme of each tablet? Does it support this claim? 

  20. One is Holy

    Rabbi Jay Kelman

  21. Shavuot: Learning to Say No

    Rabbi Elyakim Krumbein

    When studying the Biblical text, one common tool used to uncover the intention of the verses is locating the “keyword” for a particular section. Can we identify a keyword for the Ten Commandments that stand at the heart of the Sinaitic covenant? It seems to me that the most striking candidate is the Hebrew word “Lo,” “You shall not.”

    The message behind all these negative commandments – in the Torah in general and in the Ten Commandments in particular – may be found in the last Commandment, the strange prohibition of “You shall not covet,” which is so different from all the other nine Commandments. Why was this one included? 

    The Torah wishes to reveal its general understanding of the idea of “Lo,” “You shall not” or “No.” In addition to teaching us to accept authority, it expects us to try to emulate our Maker, and learn to say “No.”

  22. "Examine it Through and Through - For All is Contained Therein"

    Rabbi Jonathan Mishkin

    What is so special about the Aseret Ha-dibrot? Why have they captured the imagination of generations of Jews who insist on their transcendent nature? Are the thirteen verses in question holier than other parts of the Torah?

  23. The Ten Commandments: Twelve Prohibitions

    Rabbi Dr. Yoel Bin Nun

    How many prohibitions are there in the Ten Commandments? Most people mistakenly believe that there are seven prohibitions. We explore the idea that there are six prohibitions in the first and second tablets, making up twelve. We explore the significance of the "six" and "twelve" numerical structures here and elsewhere in the Torah, and examine the differences between the first and second Tablets.

  24. The Expanded Shema

    Rabbi Dr. Yoel Bin Nun

    Keriat Shema, the twice-daily creed, is a focal point of our prayers, with its first two paragraphs, Shema and Ve-haya im Shamoa, coming from Sefer Devarim: 6:4-9 and 11:13-21 respectively. These two passages share thematic elements and details. In addition, they bookend the “commandments of faith."

    These similarities are readily apparent if we read the expanded text of Shema (Devarim 6) along with the expanded text of Ve-haya im Shamoa (10:12–11:25). 

    The correspondence between the two units is clearly apparent. We delve into what comes in between, and we consider the clear connections between these two units and the opening statement of the Ten Commandments.


  25. Va'etchanan: Seeing Layers in the Ten Commandments

    Rabbi David Fohrman |

    We've seen the text of the Ten Commandments so many times, but how does the Torah pack so much meaning into so few words? In this parsha video, Rabbi Fohrman shows us how the Torah layers meaning into the Ten Commandments, giving us a sample of the subtleties of the Torah.

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