Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten Revelations

My Jewish friends refer to the Ten Commandments as "the Ten Statements."

They're known as "the ten mitzvot" but the first line of Exodus 20 actually calls them "ha-devarim ha-eleh" (these words or statements).

Gilla Nissan, my Hebrew teacher who leads meditations on the Hebrew letters, calls them "the Ten Revelations."

The first one is indeed more of a statement or revelation: "I am YHWH, your God, who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.  There shall not be to you any gods of others in my Presence" (Exodus 20:2).  Can we view the others that way as well?

In Judaism the Torah (the Law) is a gift from God, not a burden.

That's why Psalm 119 is all about praise for the Torah with many synonyms for law and laws:

I have chosen the way of truth: 
   thy judgments have I laid before me.
I have stuck unto thy testimonies:
   O YHWH, put me not to shame.  (Psalm 119:30-31 KJV)

May we who have followed Jesus as Messiah learn to love the Torah and even regard the ten words as blessed revelations from a loving God, not sources of guilt.

The Hebrew Scripture reading for this week is Parashas Yisro (Exodus 18-20), so named because the first word of chapter 18 is Jethro (Yisro).

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