Tablets for Living

by Rabbi Noson Weisz

Comparing the two tablets: one containing obligations toward God, the other obligations toward people.
Tablets_for_Living___(medium)_(english)The Torah contains 613 commandments. But on Mount Sinai — the only occasion in history when the entire Jewish people had a face-to-face meeting with God — God chose to emphasize 10. The first two of the Ten Commandments we heard from the mouth of God directly without Moses as an intermediary, whereas the other eight we heard through Moses.

According to many commentators the first one isn’t really a commandment at all, but more in the nature of an introductory statement to all the commandments. But there is a special common denominator that unifies these 10 and sets them apart from all the others; they are the only commandments that appear on the “Tablets of the Law.”

The significance of being inscribed on the tablets is explained thus by Moses:

“He (God) told you His covenant that He commanded you to observe, the 10 declarations, and he inscribed them on two stone tablets.” (Deut. 4:13)
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