Today on Shabbat we contemplate the meaning of commandment. What does it mean to be commanded in this day and age? Of course the Torah portion for today is Yitro. God gives the Ten Commandments to the people Israel. In Hebrew they are called Aseret HaDibrot. The Ten Sayings. Or as I like to call them the Ten Responsibilities.
I think this puts the Big Ten List in a different perspective. When the metaphor of God was as King and Monarch -that is what a king does: make commands of his servants. But I am not sure that metaphor works for us as liberal Jews. And so these are the responsibilities and obligations that we have agreed to as a People. We affirmatively at Mt. Sinai took them on. We didn’t have to. But we did. We experienced something powerful, the Divine Presence at that moment. And ever since then we as a people have struggled with these responsibilities and the other 603 in the Torah!
Sometimes we fail to live up to our responsibilities. We are human. But we should never stop striving to achieve them.
How do you think of the Ten Commandments? Commands? Obligations? Responsibilities? Suggestions?