Shavuot and the Ten Commandments
Shavuot is also known as Zeman Matan Toratenu, the Season of the Giving of Our Law, which commemorates the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.
After Moses and the Israelites fled the slavery of Egypt, they wandered the desert. G provided the travelers with food to eat (manna) and water to drink. After long months Moses brought his followers to the foot of a mountain called Sinai. Though the desert was dry and bare, the mountain was lush and green, covered with grass, flowers and trees. Moses and the Israelites set up camp at the base of the mountain.
On the third day of the Hebrew month of Sivan, Moses was commanded by G to prepare the Jewish people for G’s decent and visit. The Israelites washed and purified their clothes and their bodies. Three days later, on the sixth day of Sivan, the people were awaken by thunder and lightning. Thick, dark clouds hung over the mountain. The sounds of the Shofar, the ram’s horn, were heard echoing across the desert. The earth began to tremble and shake. Then the Israelites heard a voice, G’s voice, as he spoke to them from out of the clouds. And G gave them the Ten Statements (Aseret HaDibrot) which are referred to as the Ten Commandments. In reality there are many more than ten commandments given in the Torah. Tradition counts them at 613.
1) “I am the Lord your G, Who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery”
2) “You shall have no other gods but me”
3) “You shall not take the name of your Lord in vain”
4) “You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy”
5) “Honor your father and mother”
6) “You shall not murder”
7) “You shall not commit adultery”
8) “You shall not steal”
9)”You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”
10) “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his bull, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Moses went up the mountain and returned with the Tablets that contained the Ten Commandments.
Through the centuries the Jewish people have celebrated this important event. It was at Mount Sinai that this band of worn and weary travelers would become the nation known as Israel.