This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Ad K'dei Kach – The Ten Commandments Revisited
There are 2 interrelated questions on the "layout" of Parshat Mishpatim.
The sequence of the narrative of Mattan Torah is a bit strange. Let's look at what happens: In Shmos 19:1, the Jews arrive at the foot of Mt. Sinai. From this point until the end of Shmos 19, the Torah gives us an historical account of the preparations for the big event including the dialog between HKBH and Moshe on how to prepare the nation and the mountain. Shmos 20 immediately tells us the Ten Commandments that HKBH dictated to Moshe on the great day. This goes on for 14 pasukim. This is the giving of the Torah that the entire nation witnessed. After these 14 pasukim, the Torah expends another 4 pasukim to relate the nation's immediate reaction to the event. They were awe-stricken and emotionally "moved" and they distanced themselves and they told Moshe to speak with them in place of HKBH. Presumably the event itself is behind us. But, amazingly, the Torah immediately tells us that Moshe entered the fog and HKBH speaks with him again. This time it is a short list of assorted "stray" mitzvos that do not seem to have any connection one to the next. They seem to distract us from the ongoing event which has not been fully related. With this, Parshat Yisro comes to a close. It is difficult to understand why these few disconnected mitzvos are recorded here. It looks like they would fit in very nicely with all of the detailed mitzvos that are listed in Parshat Kedoshim in VaYikra. It looks like the Torah just "threw them in". Now comes Partshat Mishpatim where we are further sidetracked with three full chapters of civil law. Finally, at the very end of Parshat Mishpatim, all the way in Shmos 24, we discover that the event is not over. We have a full chapter to tell us that there were other activities scheduled on the program for that day. Why is the Torah interrupting the historical account with all these mitzvos. Why not first finish with the story and then tell us all of the particular mitzvos together with the rest of them in Sefer VaYikra?
This week's parsha begins .ואלה המשפטיםRashi writes regarding the "vav" at the head of the first word:
)ש"ר( כל מקום שנאמר אלה פסל את הראשונים ואלה מוסיף על הראשונים מה הראשונים מסיני אף אלו מסיני
Every instance where it says " "אלהwithout a "vav" it is cancelling [its connection to] the first (i.e., previous) pasukim. Now that it is written " "ואלהwith a "vav", it is adding to the first pasukim. Just like what the previous laws were stated at Sinai, likewise, these laws were stated at Sinai.
Ad K’dei Kach
בס"ד What is the Midrash referring to when it says, "the previous laws"? The first inclination is that we are referring to the Ten Commandments that are written in Shmos 20:2-14. But something is wrong. The pasukim that immediately precede Parshat Mishpatim are not the Ten Commandments but these few stray mitzvos that the Torah "threw in" at the end of Parshat Yisro. Parshat Mishpatim seems to be continuing from them. What is the connection?
The answer is that if we look a bit closer to these stray mitzvos, we will discover that they are not stray mitzvos at all and they belong no place but here. Let us review the famous aggadah about Matan Torah (Avoda Zara 2b). Chazal say that HKBH went to all of the nations and offered them the Torah and they all refused. Each nation asked for a preview of what the Torah says. When Edom was offered the Torah, they asked, "What does it say?". They were told it says "It is forbidden to murder." They responded that murder is their way of life and they cannot accept a Torah that forbids it. When Yishmael was offered the Torah, they asked, "What does it say?” They were told it says "It is forbidden to steal." They responded that theft is their way of life and they cannot accept a Torah that forbids it. When Moav was offered the Torah, they asked, "What does it say?” They were told it says "It is forbidden to have incestuous relations." They responded that such behavior is their way of life and they cannot accept a Torah that forbids it. Many ask the question that, at the surface, all of these specific commandments are universally acknowledged precepts of morality that all societies uphold. Indeed, all of these commandments were already mandated to all of mankind as the Noahide laws. We are not talking about tedious mitzvos like shabbos, mikveh, kashrus, etc. Why were they rejected? The answer is that these nations understood that when HKBH told them it is forbidden to murder, steal, or have forbidden relations, He didn't mean merely not killing or stealing or performing immoral acts. They caught on right away that all these commandments come with "fine print". And they read the fine print and understood – better than us who said – נעשה ונשמעwhat the Torah really demands. You see, all of the assorted mitzvos that are listed between the recording of the original Ten Commandments and the continuation of the historical narrative in Parshat Mishpatim, are not a varied assortment of additional laws that we are required to uphold in addition to the Ten Commanments. They are the Ten Commandments themselves! They are the fine print that the other nations “read”. And, with the exception of 2 of them, they follow the precise order of the commandments! Let's look at these commandments again, the way they are written. The miscellaneous mitzvos constitute the final 5 pasukim of Parshat Yisro and they begin at Shmos 20:19. We will check them out one by one and see what they say.
Commandment 1: 'אנכי ה
The first pasuk at Shmos 20:19 says as follows:
כה תאמר אל-בני ישראל אתם ראיתם כי מן-השמים דברתי :עמכם
Ad K’dei Kach 2
What is this pasuk saying? This pasuk is saying that HKBH (K'vayachol) came down and personally spoke to the Jews. It is saying: .אנכי ה' אלקיךIt tells us the extent of .'אנכי הIt says that 'אנכי הdoes not just mean that I directed the events that got Pharaoh to release you from Egypt but ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that I Myself spoke to you and commanded these laws. I Myself! Ad k'dei kach!
Commandment 2: לא יהיה לך
The very next pasuk in Shmos 20:20 says the following:
:לא תַעשון אִתי אֱלהי כ ֶסף ואלהי ז ָהב לא תַעשו ל ָכם ֶ ֲ ֹ ָ ֵ ֹ ֵ ֶ ֵ ֹ ִ ֲ ֹ
What is this pasuk saying? Rashi explains that when we construct the Keruvim, as we must, we cannot deviate one drop from the blueprint. When HKBH tells us to make them of gold, we cannot make them of silver and if HKBH tells us to make two of them, we cannot make four of them. It tells us the extent of .לא יהיה לךThe prohibition of idolatry is ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that even though we are not creating idols but mandatory Keruvim, if we don't do it precisely, it is as if we have created false gods in our sanctuary. Ad k'dei kach!
Commandment 3: לא תשא את שם...לשוא
The very next pasuk in Shmos 20:21 says the following:
מז ְבח אֲדמה תַעשה-לי ... בְכל-הַמקום אֲשר אז ְכיר ִ ֶ ָ ָ ִ ֶ ֲ ָ ָ ַ ִ :את-שמי אבוא אֵליך ָ ובֵר ַכ ְתיך ָ ִ ֶ ִ ְ ֶ :
What is this pasuk saying? Rashi says:
מכאן אתה למד שלא ניתן רשות להזכיר שם המפורש אלא במקום שהשכינה באה שם וזהו בית הבחירה
From here we see that one is not allowed to utter the explicit name except in the place where His Shechina rsides… It tells us the extent of .לא תשאThe prohibition of לא תשאis ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that not only are we prohibited from uttering the Name of G-d in vain in our mundane environment, but ad k'dei kach that for the Shem Hameforash, there is only one place on the face of the earth where it may be uttered at all. And even there, only when it is called for.
Ad K’dei Kach
בס"ד Ad k'dei kach! For some reason, the Torah chooses at this point in the sequence to omit Commandment 4 (Shmirat Shabbat) and Commandment 5 (Kibud Av V'Em) – at least for now - and to continue its elaboration from the second set of commandments. These are the 2 that I wrote earlier are exceptions to the sequence. There is an interesting aspect that applies exclusively to these 2 commandments and that is that these 2 were not initially introduced to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai but were actually commanded a bit earlier at Marrah. This does not really explain the omission but perhaps there is a connection.
Commandment 6: לא תרצח
The very next pasuk in Shmos 20:22 says the following:
ו ְאם-מז ְבח אֲבָנים תַעשה-לי לא-תִבְנה אֶתְהן ג ָזית כי ִ ִ ֶ ֶ ֹ ִ ֶ ֲ ִ ַ ִ ִ :חר ְבְך ָ הֵנ ַפְתָ עליהָ ו ַתְחל ֲל ֶה ָ ַ ֶ ָ ַ
What is this pasuk saying? Rashi explains that "Here we learn that if one passed an iron blade over the stones of the mizbeach, he has defiled it. For the mizbeach was created to lengthen the life of man and iron was created to shorten the life of man. It is not fitting that the shortener should be used to fashion the lengthener… It tells us the extent of .לא תרצחThat one must distance himself from violence and murder ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that we are not allowed to use the same material that is used for weapons when we create our holy vessels. Ad k'dei kach!
Commandment 7: לא תנאף
The very next pasuk in Shmos 20:23 says the following:
ָ ו ְלא-תַעלה בְמעלת על-מז ְבְחי אֲשר לא-תִג ָלה ער ְו ָתְך ֶ ֶ ֹ ֶ ִ ִ ַ ֹ ֲ ַ ֶ ֲ ֹ :עליו ָ ָ
What is this pasuk saying? Rashi explains:
שע"י המעלות אתה צריך להרחיב פסיעותיך ואע"פ שאינו גלוי ערוה ממש שהרי כתיב ועשה להם מכנסי בד מ"מ הרחבת הפסיעות קרוב לגלוי ערוה הוא ואתה נוהג בם מנהג בזיון והרי דברים ק"ו ומה אבנים הללו שאין בהם דעת להקפיד על בזיונן אמרה תורה הואיל ויש בהם צורך לא תנהג בהם מנהג בזיון חבירך שהוא בדמות יוצרך ומקפיד על בזיונו :על אחת כמה וכמה
By using stairs one must widen his steps. And even though this is not actually exposing oneself because the Kohen wore trousers, still wide steps is akin to exposing Ad K’dei Kach 4
בס"ד nakedness…and this is a kal v'chomer: if it is so that these stones that have no mind to be affronted yet the Torah tells us …do not act crassly toward them, to your fellow man…how much more so! It tells us the extent of .לא תנאףOur obligation to be modest in behavior and avoid anything promiscuous is ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that we are not allowed to approach the mizbeach with stairs that we approximate indecent exposure (even though we are dressed!). Ad k'dei kach!
With this, Parshat Yitro comes to a close. We have seen a precise sequence of 5 of the first 7 of the Ten Commandments to have been “revisited” in their proper order with their "fine print". This is the fine print that the Nations of the World understood was the true meaning of the prohibitions against Idolatry, Bloodshed, and Immorality that they could not accept. They are prepared to remain B'nei Noach and to accept these prohibitions in their most rudimentary forms, but the added baggage of Ad k'dei kach – of being a mamleches kohanim v'am Kadosh was not for them. But is HKBH quite finished? What about the three remaining commandments? Aren't we holding at לא תגנבin our sequence? Indeed we are. But, as opposed to all the earlier commandments, to characterize the ad k'dei kach of ,לא תגנבone short pasuk is not sufficient. So HKBH tells us as follows: "Okay, fellas. You heard from Me in one short verse what 'אנכי הreally means. And then you heard from Me in one short verse what לא יהיה לךand לא תשאreally means. And then you heard from Me in one short verse what לא תרצחand לא תנאף really means. Now are you ready to hear about what לא תגנבreally means? Are you sitting down? Okay, here it comes:"
Commandment 8: לא תגנב
The very next pasuk begins a new perek. And Shmos 21:1 says:
:ו ְאֵלה הַמשפָטים אֲשר תָשים ל ִפְניהם ֶ ֵ ִ ֶ ִ ְ ִ ֶ
These are the monetary laws that apply to them: When you acquire for yourself a Hebrew servant…When two people fight and one strikes a pregnant woman…if the husband assesses an atonement. When one man's ox gores another…If one sends his destroyer to another's field… Should a fire break out…If one digs a pit…When one robs an ox or sheep…When two men fight and one strikes another…When one gives another silver or vessels to guard…If one borrows from his friend..etc., etc. etc. On and on and on all through chapter 21 (37 pasukim) and chapter 22 (30 pasukim) most of which is dealing with monetary and civil issues. And all of it is to tell us that when I say ,לא תגנבthis is what I mean by .לא תגנב And how does it all begin?
:ו ְאֵלה הַמשפָטים אֲשר תָשים ל ִפְניהם ֶ ֵ ִ ֶ ִ ְ ִ ֶ
Ad K’dei Kach 5
בס"ד Rashi tells us "Wherever it says ( ואלהwith a "vav") it is adding to the previous." Just like the previous pasukim were the elucidations on the "true meaning" of the Ten Commandments to tell us "ad k'dei kach", so too, here we are further elucidating on the true meaning of the Ten Commandments. How does it begin? With the laws of the Jewish servant. Why? Recall that this parsha is supposed to elucidate the לא תגנבfrom the initial Ten Commandments. Rashi over there tells us from the gemara in Sanhedrin that this pasuk ( ) לא תגנבincludes the capital form of theft – human trafficking and slavery. One is forbidden to kidnap a fellow Jew and to sell him into slavery. Fine and good. Even the Nations of the world can respect this. But here in Parshat Mishpatim we tell you that for the Am Kadosh what does לא – תגנבdo not forcibly enslave a fellow Jew - truly mean? It means ad k'dei kach – to the very extent – that even when you legally purchase a Jewish servant, you cannot enslave them for more than six years. Plus a myriad of other limitations to what one can do to a Hebrew servant or maidservant that we see here and in other places (i.e., a master must feed the servant the same quality of food that he eats, he may not subserviate him with "avodat perech", he must give him gifts when he is discharged, etc.). Ad k'dei kach! And then the pasukim elaborate on the more basic monetary forms of לא תגנבto tell us to what extent it is intended. And how does it all end in Pasuk 22:30?
ואנ ְשי-קדש תִהיון לי ובָשר בַשדה טר ֵפה לא תאכלו ֵ ֹ ֹ ָ ְ ֶ ָׂ ָ ִ ְ ֶ ֹ ֵ ְ :ל ַכ ֶלב תַשלכון אתו ֹ ִ ְ ֶ
What is this pasuk saying? Rashi explains:
א"כ מה ת"ל לכלב למדך הכתוב שאין הקב"ה מקפח שכר כל בריה שנאמר )שמות יא( ולכל בני ישראל לא יחרץ כלב :לשונו אמר הקב"ה תנו לו שכרו
In actuality, a tarefa is permitted for monetary benefit and one does not need to destroy it or literally to feed it to the dog. If so, why does the Torah suggest the dog? The pasuk is teaching HKBH does not impound any creature’s reward. For it says that "For all of the Israelites a dog will not unleash its tongue" and the Torah says: give the dog his reward. Yes folks, this tells us the extent of .לא תגנבThat one must distance himself from gezel and ill gotten gains ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that even a dog, we are not allowed to cheat out of what it deserves. Ad k'dei kach!
Commandment 9: לא תענה ברעך עד שקר
Here begins Perek 23. And the very first three pasukim of Perek 23 say as follows:
Ad K’dei Kach
לא תִשא שמע שוא אל-תָשת י ָדך ָ עם-ר ָשע ל ִהְית עד ֵ ֹ ָ ִ ְ ֶ ְ ָ ַ ֵ ָׂ ֹ חמס: ב לא-תִהְיה אחרי-ר ַבים ל ְר ָעת ו ְלא-תַענה על-רב ִ ַ ֶ ֲ ֹ ֹ ִ ֵ ֲ ֶ ֹ ָ ָ :ל ִנ ְטת אחרי ר ַבים ל ְהַטת: ג ו ְדל לא תֶהְדר בְריבו ִ ַ ֹ ָ ֹ ִ ֵ ֲ ֹ
What are these pasukim saying? Let's look at the first one. Rashi explains that it is a prohibition against speaking Lashon Harah. Imagine that?! Lashon Harah is one of the Ten Commandments. And what is Lashon Harah? Lashon Harah is imparting information that is absolutely true, when there is no positive outcome of imparting this information. And the second half of the pasuk? Rashi explains that it means that a judge is forbidden to hear the testimony of one litigant in the absence of the opposing litigant. It tells us the extent of .לא תענה ברעךNot only can one not present false facts, but ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that even true facts cannot be presented if they are derogatory and have no purpose in being known. And one cannot even present his own "side of the story" if the opponent is not in position to challenge him. Ad k'dei kach! How about the second pasuk? Rashi explains that the second pasuk is telling us that even though we can prosecute a person by a majority rule, a simple majority of one jurist is not sufficient. Also, that if one truly sees the case in one man's favor, he himself cannot rule against him just because a majority of his peers see the case otherwise. The third pasuk tells us that even if one litigant is in dire straights, we cannot use this criterion as a basis of finding in his favor (this one is a relatively practical Halacha). But the pasuk does not say לא תטהto indicate that one cannot “bend” the facts, it says לא תהדרnot to beautify (to glorify or enhance) the arguments of the poor person. It means not to take his arguments and enhance their meaning or weightiness beyond the norm so as not to unfairly demoralize the opposing party. All of these things, even where there is no falsehood in involved whatsoever, are included in .לא תענה ברעך עד שקר Ad k'dei kach.
Commandment 10: לא תחמוד
The very next 2 pasukim of Perek 23 (23:4,5) say as follows:
כי תִפְגע שור איבְך ָ או חמרו תעה הָשב תְשיבנו לו: ה ֶ ִ ֵ ֶ ֹ ֹ ֲ ֹ ַ ִ כי- תִר ְאה חמור שנ ַאֲך ָ רבץ תַחת משאו ו ְחדל ְתָ מעזב ֲֹ ֵ ַ ָ ָׂ ַ ַ ֵ ֹ ֲ ֶ ִ :לו עזב תַעזב עמו ִ ֲֹ ָֹ
לא תחמודis a very difficult commandment to understand. But its message is unmistakable. Each individual Jewish person is a servant of G-d and each individual has his/her own individual mission in life in fulfillment of his service to G-d. All of our possessions, talents and skills are endowments from HKBH for the purpose of Ad K’dei Kach 7
בס"ד using them to fulfill our missions. Just as having less than we need is detrimental to our goals, having more than we need is similarly detrimental to our goals. As such, there is no reason for a Jew to "look over his shoulder" at the next person and take inventory. Each person must assume that whatever he has are what he needs and whatever we have is what we need. But Human nature is very frail and people are always comparing notes with their fellows. When one covets the possessions of his fellow, he feels the urge to actively do something to "even the score". And he may take active steps to either increase his holdings or to decrease his neighbor's. They may be illicit activities such as theft or damage of other people's properties (and adultery in the case of their spouse) and it may even be "acceptable" activities such as working harder to afford a higher lifestyle BUT at the sacrifice of Torah learning or other more spiritual pursuits. All this is what I would understand from – לא תחמודthat one may not actively do naughty things to "even the score". So what do these pasukim tell us? It tells us the extent of .לא תחמודNot only can one not actively find ways to "even up the score", but ad k'dei kach – to the very extent - that one is not allowed to passively stand by and watch his fellow lose his property and thus enjoy seeing the "score" even up by itself! For who is one's enemy, his אויבand his ?שונא It is his fellow who has something that he doesn't. It is his business competitor. Pasuk 23:4 tells us that when you see one of Mr. Has-It-All's 3000 head of cattle straying of the cliff and you say to yourself, "Why bother for him? I'm busy scrounging up my rent money right now." You must think of him as you would want him to think of you. And pasuk 23:5 says that when your competitor in the garment district is receiving a truckload of suits and a rack tips over from the ledge of the truck and the suits scatter all over the pavement, don't remind yourself that it is time to prepare your bad debt write-offs in preparation for your chapter 11 filing next week, but help him get those suits safely into his shop. To desist from doing so, passive as it is, constitutes a display of .לא תחמוד Ad k'dei kach! At this point it appears that HKBH has completed the sequential revisiting of the Ten Commandments. We noted earlier that, apparently, 2 commandments were omitted from this sequential commandment-by-commandment elucidation: Shabbat and Kivud Av V’Em. Though I cannot explain why they were left out of the sequence, they were not totally overlooked.
Commandment 4: זכור את יום השבת לקדשו
Even at this point, HKBH is not quite finished talking to us. The next 4 pasukim from where we left off (Shmos 23:6-9) seem to be related to issues of לא תענה ברעך and I cannot explain why they were not written before the 2 that I attributed to לא . תחמודBut right after this we have the following:
Ad K’dei Kach
ו ְשש שנים תִז ְרע את-אר ְצ ֶך ָ ואספְתָ את-תבואתה: יא ָ ְ ֶ ַ ְ ֶ ַ ִ ָ ֵ ו ְהַשביעת תִשמטנה ונ ְטשתה ואכלו אֶבְיֹני עמך ָ ויתְרם ָ ְ ֶ ַ ֵ ְ ְ ָ ְ ַ ָ ֶ ְ ְ ִ ִ ְׂ :תאכל חית הַשדה כן-תַעשה ל ְכ ַר ְמך ָ ל ְזיתֶך ָ ֵ ְ ֶ ֲ ֵ ֶ ָׂ ַ ַ ַ ֹ
This is the mitzvah of Shemittas Karkaos and the message to us is quite obvious: When I tell you to keep Shabbat to proclaim that I created the Heaven and Earth and all that it contains, it does not just mean that you and your family and your servants and your animals must all observe Shabbbat but ad k'dei kach – to the very extent that you must even give the farmland that you depend on for sustenance a full year off for Shabbat! Ad k'dei kach! Of course, the next pasuk repeats the basic commandment of Shabbat and Rashi tells us that it was repeated to let us know that even when we are giving our farmland a full year’s rest, we must still observe the regular weekly Shabbat. And, if we haven’t already had enough of this ad k’dei kach concept, the very next pasuk (though it is quite out of sequence) tells us:
יג ובְכל אֲשר-אמר ְתי אֲליכם תִשמרו ו ְשם אֱלהים ִ ֹ ֵ ֵ ָׂ ֶ ֵ ִ ַ ֶ ֹ :אֲחרים לא תַז ְכירו לא ישמע על-פיך ָ ִ ַ ַ ָׂ ֹ ִ ֹ ִ ֵ
And Rashi tells us that it means that our disassociation from idolatry must be to the extent – ad k’dei kach – that we do not even mention the name of an avoda zarah as a landmark and that we are cautioned to avoid (though not necessarily forbidden) to forge a partnership with a non-Jew so as not to inadvertently create a situation where he must take an oath which he will do by the name of his gods. Ad k’dei kach!
Commandment 5: כבד את אביך ואת אמך
With this commandment I admit that I must push the envelope a little bit because, evidently, Kibud Av V’Em was not included in the running sequence of the other eight, nor was it “saved for last” as was the mitzvah of Shabbat. Still, it is not totally absent because right after we begin the “revisit” of Commandment #7 ( )לא תגנבand finish discussing the Hebrew servant and maidservant and go on to discuss personal injury, we have 2 pasukim that talk about the special consideration toward parents. Shmos 21:15 says:
:ומכה אביו ו ְאמו מות יומת ָ ִ ִ ֵ ַ
And again Shmos 21:17 says:
:ומקלל אביו ו ְאמו מות יומת ָ ִ ִ ֵ ַ ְ
Ad K’dei Kach
בס"ד Both of which are obviously telling us to what extent our obligation to revere our parents must be taken. Wounding or cursing one’s parents is punishable by death in contrast to the same infraction against any other Human beings. The death penalty! Ad k’dei kach! And so, at this point, we have basically completed our discussion of ad k’dei kach but G-d is not quite finished explaining things to Moshe. As we have seen, almost every word of G-d’s talk with Moshe was an elaboration of the Ten Commandments, most of it in sequence and some of it out of sequence. And this answers our initial 2 questions: 1. What is the meaning of the strange commandments at the end of Parshat Yisro and why is the narrative of the event of Mattan Torah interrupted with these extra three perakim and the Mishpatim. Isn’t this all the stuff that came after the Ten Commandments? 2. What is Rashi really referring to when he says that the extra “vav” is a “continuation of the previous words” And the answer to both questions is the same: These aren’t additional commandments that were added after the Ten Commandments. These are the Ten Commandments themselves! Only it is in its expanded form. The Ten Commandments are being revisited! And Parshat Mishpatim is a revisit on the commandment of לא תגנבwhich needs much more detail than the previous ones but it is merely a continuation of the sequence. This is what the Nations of the World understood when they were offered the option of accepting the Ten Commandments. These commandments don’t just mean “Don’t murder. Don’t steal. Don’t commit adultery…” They mean more. A lot more. Ad k’dei kach!
Our discussion of ad k’dei kach basically took us through G-d’s discussion with Moshe from Shmos 20:19 until Shmos 23:13. And it says that G-d was merely explaining to Moshe the Ten Commandments. But, evidently, G-d is not quite finished. He has two more things to discuss with us which do not seem to be implied in the Ten Commandments. The first is the mitzvah of the three festivals which goes from Shmos 23:14-19 (Shishi). And then, from pasuk 23:20 until the conclusion of Perek 23, is a set of very stern instructions concerning how we are to proceed to Eretz Yisroel. It is not until here that G-d’s conversation is complete and we return to the historical account of the event of Mattan Torah. But if these are not an elucidation of the Ten Commandments, why is this a part of His discussion? Here I don’t have Rashi to help me so I must guess. Ad K’dei Kach 10
בס"ד In general the Ten Commandments are rules that apply to individuals. All of the Ten Commandments are rules that I can obey even if you don’t and you can obey even if I don’t. What HKBH is telling us is that he is not giving the Torah to a gathering of individuals but to a complete nation. And it must be accepted as the law of a unified nation. So first He tells Moshe about the festivals and perhaps the message is this: Now that G-d has given us His Torah and these commandments in both their short and long forms, we cannot merely take this gift from “Grandpa” and each person go to his vines and his fig trees to the Galil and Gush Dan, the Negev and Shomron and play with his new toy and forget to keep in touch with “Grandpa” or the rest of the “mishpacha”. We all have to stay in touch and show up at the family reunion a few times a year and say hello to “Grandpa”. And, lastly, he tells Moshe that this Torah is not for the purpose of being implemented here in a barren desert isolated from the rest of the world. Moshe is being told that these mitzvos will only fully meet their intended goals when they are put into practice in a specific land where we will establish the .ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדושThe Ramban, the most religious “Zionist” that I know, elaborates on this in Vayikra 18:25 (among other places). HKBH goes on to tell us that our success as a nation is dependent upon our maintaining our presence in the land and that our presence in the land is dependent upon our observing the Ten Commandments exactly as prescribed. To the very extent that the land has no tolerance for those who cannot observe 'אנכי ה and לא יהיה לךand we must obliterate any traces of avoda zarah and those who uphold it. Ad k'dei kach!
Ad K’dei Kach
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.