Sunday, January 27, 2008

10 10 Wins Commands

This past Shabbos I was in Park Slope, my old community for a bar-mitzvah. We ate bei the rabbi, and davened (in part) at his shul. Both the rabbi's 10-year-old son at dinner, and the past president at shaleshudis, mentioned the L. Rebbe's idea that the 10 Statements (Aseres haDibros) correspond to the 10 Stateements (Maamaros) of creation, such that the 10 Commandments as they are called, are a tikun, a repair, for the Fall of Man which was the final incident in the Creation story.

It occurs to me, that one bit of evidence that links the two concepts, other than the simple coincidence of numbers (10-10), is that God creates the world with only 9 explicit statements. Only 9 times does the first Creation story use the verb "Vayomer", "and [G0d] said". The tenth statement is implicit in the first verse: Bereshith bara Elokim et hashamayim v'et haaretz. In the beginning, created God, -> the heavens and the earth. How does God create? Clearly, through speech. So there is an implicit act of speech that began the creation.

Similarly, in the 10 Commandments, there are only really nine that are phrased as commands: Honor your parents, Keep the shabbos, Don't murder, Don't kidnap, etc. The First Command, which we heard directly from the Mouth of God as it were, as a mass revelation at Sinai, is more of an existential statement, the grundnorm of the Torah system: I am the Lord your G0d, who took you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage. There we have mandated the entire basis of Torah - our dependence on God, and our need to follow what He says.

So we have a strong parallel: the grundnorm of existence is that God created the universe, so it was stated indirectly. The purpose of existence is to fulfill G0d's will as expressed in the Torah, so the First Statement at Sinai was just that, an existential statement of God's relationship to us, the basis of our purpose in fulfilling the Torah, the grundnorm of the mandatory nature of Torah.

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