EDITOR’S NOTE: Since we just celebrated the giving of the Ten Commandments, I thought I’d include these for your reading pleasure.
The Ten Commandments contain 297 words. The Bill of Rights is stated in 463 words. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains 266 words. A recent federal directive to regulate the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words. – Atlanta Journal
If God had been a liberal, we wouldn’t have had the Ten Commandments — we’d have the Ten Suggestions. – Malcolm Bradbury
One of the reasons why the Ten Commandments are so short and to the point is the fact they were given direct and did not come out of committees. – H.G. Hutcheson
Somebody recently figured out that we have 35 million laws to enforce the ten commandments. – Attributed to both Bert Masterson and Earl Wilson
Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them. – H.L. Mencken
I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US congress. – Ronald Reagan
There are ten commandments, right? Well it’s like an exam. You get eight out of ten, you’re just about top of the class. – Mordecai Richler
If Moses had been paid newspaper rates for the Ten Commandments, he might have written the Two Thousand Commandments. – Isaac Singer
This is the age of bargain hunters. If it had been this way in biblical times, we’d probably have been offered another Commandment free if we had accepted the first ten. – Earl Wilson
Rabbi Markowitz concluded the services one Shabbat morning by saying, “Next Shabbat, my sermon will be about lying. In preparation, I would like you all to read the 42nd chapter of the book of Exodus.”
On the following Shabbat, Rabbi Markowitz rose to begin, and said:
“Now, then, all of you who have done as I requested and read the 42nd chapter of the book of Exodus, please raise your hands.”
Nearly every hand in the congregation went up.
“You are the people I want to talk to,” said Rabbi Markowitz. “There is no 42nd chapter of the book of Exodus!”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes this is a joke, but not knowing what the Torah says or doesn’t say isn’t; it has life and death implications. Did God really create the Heavens and the earth? Did He really say to Adam and Eve don’t eat from the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden, and if so, why? Does the Torah have answers to some of life’s basic questions: Why are we here? How did we get here? What are we supposed to do while we are here? What happens after we die? Does the Torah say God helps those who help themselves? What about all the evil in the world … how did it get here, why does God allow it, and is there anything we can or should be doing about it? Why are there wars, and is there such a thing as a “good” war? How should we treat one another as peoples and nations, husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and neighbors, law-abiding citizens and criminals, old and young, rich and poor, business partners, debtors and creditors, fellow Jews, or the stranger in our midst? What happens if we break God’s laws, especially since we know beforehand that we will? How good do we have to be to be good enough? Does it really matter what we eat, drink, or wear? Who or what do we look to for guidance and direction when life gets really tough? If somebody wrote down all this stuff, who were they and why did they write it? How do we know whether it is truth or myth? What distinguishes it from — or makes it superior to — any other book of history or wisdom written by flawed human beings? Is any of it relevant to our lives today and, if so, what parts? If answers to any of these questions are to be found in the study of Torah, what a difference it would make in a person’s life to find them and live by them.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rabbi Chaim Bruk is the Chabad Lubavitch rabbi in Bozeman, where he lives with his wife Chavie and their three children, Chaya, Zeesy, and Menny. He reminds us that to know the Torah and to live the Torah is to choose life itself. As we look forward to the annual celebration of Shavuot next week, let’s begin to become more familiar with the Torah and what it teaches us even now, starting tonight. Reprinted with permission.
Torah Iz Dee Beste S’chorah!
By Rabbi Chaim
While Chavie and the Women’s League of Chabad were enjoying their pre-Rosh-Chodesh get together and chatting about the Sinai moment, I was upstairs thinking about Torah study. In an average week I merit to study unadulterated Torah with countless individuals. With one it’s the Prophets and with another Talmud, with one it’s Miamondoes’ principles of faith and with many others it’s JLI’s fascinating courses and our group classes throughout the week. Chavie and I enjoy immensely being able to enjoy Torah with whoever wishes to broaden their knowledge.
Tuesday evening will usher in the holiday of Shavuot, when we celebrate the pinnacle moment of Jewish history. In front of more than two million living Jews and the spirit of every soul to ever live, G-d handed us His most precious treasure, the wisdom of all wisdom, His Torah. He didn’t have to, but He chose to; giving us an unparalleled opportunity to connect with Him. Shavuot is our annual reminder to incorporate daily, or at least weekly, Torah study in our lives, because a life without it, is no life.
The Talmud teaches: Once, the wicked government of Rome decreed that the Jewish people were forbidden to study Torah. Pappus ben Judah saw Rabbi Akiva convening gatherings in public and studying Torah with them. Said he to him: “Akiva, are you not afraid of the government?” Said Rabbi Akiva to him: “I’ll give you a parable. “A fox was walking along a river and saw fish rushing to and fro. Said he to them: ‘Why are you fleeing?’ “Said they to him: ‘The nets that the humans spread for us.'”Said he to them: ‘Why don’t you come out onto the dry land? We’ll live together, as my ancestors lived with your ancestors.'”Said they to him: ‘Are you the one of whom it is said that you are the wisest of animals? You’re not wise, but foolish! If, in our environment of life, we have cause for fear, how much more so in the environment of our death!’ “The same applies to us: if, now, when we sit and study the Torah, of which it is said ( Deuteronomy 30:20 ), For it is your life and the lengthening of your days, such is our situation, how much more so if we neglect it….
Make a resolution this Shavuot to begin a Torah class, to join five other Montanans to study your daily Chayenu, to have a one-on-one with a fellow Jew – or even the Rabbi – in Torah; whatever it is, make Torah real. Don’t just rise for it in Shul, kiss it as it makes it’s rounds or dance with it on Simchat Torah, allow it to permeate your heart, soul and day to day life.
As the Yiddish song goes Torah Iz Dee Beste S’chorah – Torah is the greatest asset!
Wishing you and yours a Shabbat Shalom & a Happy Shavuot!
Your friends @ Chabad Lubavitch,
Rabbi Chaim, Chavie, Chaya, Zeesy and Menny