Ten for Ten – Parashat Yitro

February 15, 2017 at 6:45 PM , , ,

“….And G-d spoke all these words, to say….” – Shemot 20:1

וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹקִים אֵת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לֵאמֹר – שמות כ, א

The phrase “וַיְדַבֵּר…לֵאמֹר “, “And He spoke… to say”, is typically used in the Torah when the person being spoken to is being instructed to repeat what he is being told to a third party. For example, when G-d commanded Moshe regarding a particular mitzvah, the command was “spoken to Moshe, to say,” i.e. for Moshe to relay it to all of Bnei Yisrael.

The use of the word “לאמר” regarding the sounding of the Aseres Hadibros, the Ten Commandments, thus demands explanation. Were not all Bnei Yisrael present when G-d spoke the Aseres Hadibros? In fact, the Midrash teaches that even the souls of all future generations of Jews were present at Sinai (Shemos Rabbah 28:6). To whom must the Ten Commandments be repeated?

Ten Commandments

The Maggid of Mezeritch answers that the expression “to say” can be homiletically interpreted here as an allusion to the Asarah Maa’moros, the ten statements – מאמרות in Hebrew – with which G-d created the world, (such as, “And G-d said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Beraishis 1:3), see Avos 5:1.) Accordingly, the prefatory verse of the Aseres Hadibros, “וַיְדַבֵּר…לֵאמֹר” is to be understood as an instruction that we must draw וידבר – the Torah contained within the Aseres Hadibros, into לאמר – the Asarah Ma’amoros, the world that was created by G-d with ten statements.

This means that our Torah lives and mundane lives may not be compartmentalized. Even when we engage in the “Asarah Ma’amoros,” our worldly interactions for business and for pleasure must be permeated with a Torah attitude and lifestyle. Even beyond our spiritual pursuits of prayer and Torah study, our daily activities must be guided not by secular influences but by an outlook that reflects our attachment to the Torah – the Aseres Hadibros.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 1, pp. 148-149

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