Monday, February 6, 2012

Synopsis on the 10 Commandments: Brief Insights on each Commandment!

The First Commandment:- “I am both Hashem, a merciful G-d for those who obey Me, and elokecha, a punitive G-d for one who refuses to listen to Me.”
This mitzvah applies to all times, where as most mitzvoth apply to only specific times. Hereby, from this we see that we must constantly be aware of Hashem’s existence and power.

The Second Commandment- “You shall have no other gods!”

By stating, ‘other gods,’ Hashem is not stating that there are other gods that exist; rather, He is commanding that it is forbidden to believe in any other power other than Hashem.
 In our society, we tend to attribute success, health, happiness, power, intellect, skill, etc., to our own discipline; thereby, idolizing ourselves. Rather, we need to recognize that Hashem is the One to who provides us with all the amazing things we have in our lives. We must stop worshiping ourselves and our accomplishment, because they are gifts from the one and only G-d, Hashem.

The Third Commandment- “Do not pronounce G-d’s name in vain”

Hashem forbids us to use His name in vain. Hashem’s name has healing power, and thereby must not be used in vain.

The Fourth Commandment- “To Observe Shabbot”

The Fourth Commandment, to observe Shabbot, includes all the prohibitions against performing the thirty-nine melachot (labors forbidden on Shabbot). To sanctify Shabbot, we differentiate Shabbot by making a bracha when it starts, and saying havdala when is ends. On Shabbot, we should all strive to make delicious meals not usual to the week and wear our finest garments. Moreover, any expenses incurred on Shabbot will be reimbursed by Hashem (this should encourage everyone to open their homes!)  Shabbot is a day to focus on teffilah and Torah.
Shabbot is a time  a person should focus on his spiritual pursuits, rather than on diverting his mind on the mundane weekly labors. In all, by observing Shabbot, you are attesting that Hashem created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Make this Shabbot even holier by having this spiritual pursuit in mind, it will make all the difference.

The Fifth Commandment- “Honor your father and mother”
This commandment is way overlooked, especially in our day and age.  This mitzvah obligates a person to attend to his parents needs (food, drink, clothing, etc.); however, a person is not required to use his own money in providing his parents with their needs. Moreover, a person should address his parents in a courteous manner.  When children honor their parents, Hashem says,

“I consider it as if I dwelled in their midst and they honored Me. If a person causes his parents aggravation, it is good that I do not dwell in their midst, for had I been among them, they would have aggravated Me too.”

Here we see the importance in honoring our parents, which is synonymous with honoring Hashem. By honoring one’s parents, one receives longevity in olam haba- the world to come.  We tend to become desensitized by the greatness our parents have bestowed upon us. They brought us into this world, nursed us when we were helpless beings, and developed us into the people we are today. They provided us with our every need, and were we even deserving of any of it?  The love a parent has for his of a child is indescribable; thereby, we should never take our parents or the vast greatness they have done for us for granted.

The Sixth Commandment- “You shall not murder”

All humans are made Beselem Elokim-in G-d’s image. By taking a life, it is as if you are injuring Hashem. Similarly, the Midrash states that embarrassing someone is a form of murdering them. It is unfortunate to see how in our society we have become desensitized to embarrassing people; we even tend to use humiliation as a form of humor. We need to learn to empathize with people and recognize the harm we are causing them through humiliation, only then will be fulfill this commandment.

The Seventh Commandment- “You shall not commit adultery”

Hashem punishes those who are infidels the most harshly, so stay faithful! R’ Chanina states, “ An adulterous person transgresses all Ten Commandments.”

The Eighth Commandment -“ You shall not steal”

This commandment refers to the stealing of human beings. Kidnapping is considered a capital offense.

The Ninth Commandment- “You shall not be a false witness against your fellow man”

By bearing a false witness, you can create destruction in a society. People can be punished for sins they have not committed and those who did commit crimes won’t get the proper punishment they deserve. By being a false witness, you essentially deny Hashem as the creator.

The Tenth Commandment: “You Shall not covet your fellowman’s house, nor his wife, nor his servants, nor anything that belongs to your fellowman”
The Torah forbids a person to attempt to attain something that belongs to someone else. The evil trait for desiring what other people have is rooted in jealousy. However, we must understand that since jealousy is a big part of our nature, we must learn to channel it properly.
The first step to overcome jealousy is by recognizing that no one person is YOU now, was YOU before, or will be YOU in the future. You must work on realizing how unique you truly are. With this recognition, you should not compare yourself to others because you are your own special being. There is no reason to ‘covet your fellowman’s house or wife’ because Hashem has given you the exact tools you need to achieve your potential with everything you currently have, no more, no less.     
Additionally, if you find yourself feeling jealous, look to understand why you feel that way. Are you jealous of someone’s wealth, intellect, or good looks? If so, there are ways to use that jealousy as a catalyst to move forward and reach your own potential (i.e. admire the hard work and discipline that person had in becoming wealthy and use it as a catalyst to grow). Of course there are many things about ourselves that we cannot change, but we must understand that G-d has created us with the capacity to change certain things in our lives, in order to reach our potential; however, all the immutable things (i.e. things out of our control) are meant to serve as part of the tools we need to reach our potentials destined by Hashem.

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