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Torah Talk for Parashat Yitro

January 31, 2018 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, suggests a system for establishing lower courts to settle disputes; and Hashem articulates the Aseret HaDibrot (Ten Commandments) to the Bnei Yisrael amidst fire, smoke, and sounds of the shofar.

We often translate Aseret HaDibrot as “The Ten Commandments,” as I did above, but they are not really Ten Commandments – Dibrot actually means “sayings,” so they are “The Ten Sayings.” This is an important distinction because some Western religious cultures, including some denominations of Christianity, do believe that they are Ten Commandments. We can see many fascinating distinctions between the world views of some Jewish and Christian scholars in the way they divide the Dibrot. These are not just bookkeeping differences, but philosophical ones. Read more >