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The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash
The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash

Parshat HaShavua
Yeshivat Har Etzion


This parasha series is dedicated
in memory of Michael Jotkowitz, z"l.

PARASHAT VA-ETCHANAN

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Dedicated in memory of Dr. William Major z"l.

Dedicated in memory of Danny Schwartz z"l - may his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion veYerushalayim.

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Dedicated in honor of our soldiers - civilian and military - may their tears one day be turned into tears of joy. May HaKadosh Barukh Hu have mercy upon His people and upon His land. Am HaNetzach lo mefached mi-derekh aruka.

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Differences between the First and Second Appearances

of the "Ten Commandments"

By Rav Mordechai Sabato

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Mazal tov to Harav Aharon and Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein upon the marriage of their son Shai to Rivka Nahir. May they be zocheh to build a bayit ne'eman beYisrael!

In last week's shiur on parashat Devarim, we noted that the main component of Sefer Devarim is the "commandments speech," which begins in chapter 5 and concludes at the end of chapter 26. At the outset, Moshe repeats the Ten Commandments. In this shiur, we shall review the differences between the Ten Commandments as recorded in Sefer Shemot and as recorded in Sefer Devarim, and try to understand their significance.

a. THE PLACE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN SEFER DEVARIM

Let us first clarify the place of these Commandments in Moshe's speech. He introduces his speech with the following words (Devarim 5):

(1) Moshe called to all of Israel and said to them: Hear, Israel, the statutes and the judgments which I speak to you this day; learn them well and observe them to do them. (2) The Lord your God forged a covenant with us at Chorev. (3) It was not with our forefathers that God forged this covenant but rather with us – we, all of us who are alive here today. (4) Face to face God spoke with you at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire. (5) I stood between God and you at that time, to tell you God's word (for you feared the fire and did not ascend the mountain), saying...

This introduction is followed by the Ten Commandments (ibid. 6-18), and then Moshe recounts the nation's answer, after hearing the Commandments, and God's response to that answer (ibid. 19-30). At the beginning of chapter 6, Moshe repeats the preamble to the commandments speech:

This is the commandment – the statutes and the judgments – which the Lord your God commanded to teach you to perform in the land to which you are passing over, to inherit it.

Then, starting from verse 4, Moshe begins a lengthy recounting of many commandments.

Why does Moshe need to repeat his introduction again at the beginning of chapter 6, after uttering a very similar preamble at the beginning of chapter 5?

In my shiur on parashat Devarim, I noted that in many instances the text repeats a statement that was previously recorded because there was a diversion from the subject in the middle. I also noted the fact that Rashi makes mention of this literary principle in his commentary on Shemot 6:30:

"Moshe said before God" – This is the statement that he already made above (Shemot 6:12): "But Bnei Yisrael have not listened to me." The text repeats it here because there was a change of subject. This is a textual technique, much like a person who says, "Let us get back to the subject."

We may explain the repetition of what was said in 5:1 again in 6:1 on the basis of the same principle.

In order to understand what the change in subject was in our case, let us turn our attention to chapter 5, verses 1-5, as quoted above. Attention should be paid to the tension between verse 1 and verses 2-4. In verse 1, the emphasis is on "the statutes and the judgments which I SPEAK to you," while in verses 2-4 Moshe emphasizes, "the LORD OUR GOD forged a covenant with us at Chorev… FACE TO FACE GOD SPOKE WITH YOU." The covenant forged at Chorev was made directly with God; God spoke with the nation face to face. This covenant, then, is different from the commandments speech, in which it is Moshe who speaks to the nation. The Ten Commandments, referred to here as the "covenant of Chorev," are not a list of the "statutes and judgments which I speak to you," for these the nation heard directly from God. The Ten Commandments, together with verses 2-5, which are their introduction, therefore represent a deviation from the main subject – the statutes and judgments which the nation is hearing from Moshe personally. In the second part of chapter 5, starting from verse 19, Moshe explains to the nation why they did not hear the rest of the statutes and judgments directly from God:

It was, was you heard the voice from amidst the darkness, with the mountain burning with fire, that you approached me – all the heads of your tribes, and your elders – and you said: Behold, the Lord our God has allowed us to behold His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from amidst the fire. This day we have seen that God speaks with man, and he lives. Now why shall we die, for we shall be consumed by this great fire; if we continue to hear any more the voice of the Lord our God, we shall die. For who, of all flesh, can hear the voice of the living God speaking from amidst the fire – as we have done – and live? You go close and hear all that the Lord our God will say, and you speak to us all that the Lord our God says to you, and we shall hear, and we shall do. (5:19-23)

In these verses, Moshe emphasizes that it was the people themselves who did not wish to hear God's voice directly any more; it was they who asked Moshe to liaise between God and them. God accepts their request:

God listened to the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and God said to me: I have heard the voice of the words of this nation, which they have spoken to you; they have said well all that they have spoken. If only they would have such a heart to fear Me and to observe all My commandments for all time, that it may be good for them and for their children forever! Go tell them: "Go back to your tents." As to you – stand here with Me and I shall speak to you all of the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to inherit it. (ibid. 24-27)

Attention should be paid to the similarity between God's words in verse 27, and Moshe's words to the nation in 6:1 –

As to you – stand here with Me and I shall speak to you all of the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give to them to inherit it. (5:27)

This is the commandment – the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God commanded to teach you to perform in the land to which you are passing over, to inherit it. (6:1)

We already noted that the statement in 6:1 is the same as the statement in 5:1. The repetition arises from the fact that from 5:2 onwards Moshe deviates from the subject: he does not launch immediately into the statutes and judgments that are the complement to the Ten Commandments, which he wants to teach them; rather, he tells them the story of the Revelation at Sinai and the covenant of Chorev. It should be emphasized that the nation did not actually need to hear and learn the Ten Commandments from Moshe, since they had heard them directly from God; they needed Moshe only for the rest of the commandments, statutes and judgments. It is to these commandments that Moshe returns at the beginning of chapter 6, and for this reason he repeats there his opening statement from the beginning of chapter 5. The Ten Commandments are mentioned here not as part of the commandments speech, but rather as an introduction and preamble to them. By mentioning the Ten Commandments and the story surrounding them, Moshe wants to explain how it came to be that the nation is hearing God's commandments from Moshe.

Furthermore, a study of the "commandments speech" - starting in chapter 6 – shows that Moshe presents it in a structure similar to that of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments represent the general principles, as it were, and the commandments speech presents the details. The scope of this shiur does not allow for elaboration of this principle; I shall note only that Moshe starts the commandments speech with the declaration, "Hear, Israel: the Lord our God - the Lord is One," which is actually a summary of the first two of the Ten Commandments. Moshe concludes the list of commandments in parashat Va-etchanan with a declaration that parallels – in chiastic form – the declaration at the end of the first two Commandments:

You shall not bow down to them, nor shall you worship them, for I am the Lord your God, a jealous Deity Who visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations, for those who hate Me, and Who performs kindness to the thousandth generation to those who love Me and observe My commandments. (5:9-10)

You shall know that the Lord your God is the God, the Faithful Deity, Who preserves the covenant and kindness for those who love Him and who observe His commandments, for a thousand generations, and Who repays those who hate Him to His face, to destroy them. He will not tarry to repay him that hates Him, to his face. (7:9-10)

It would appear that the discrepancy between the printed word and the traditional rendition of it, in 5:10 – "His commandments," in the text, read as "My commandments" – is related to this parallel. The verbal form certainly suits the literal meaning of the text, for the first two Commandments were uttered by God in the first person. The written form, then, appears to be aimed at hinting to the parallel with Moshe's words in 7:9, and teaches that the Ten Commandments are indeed God's words, but now they are being spoken by Moshe.

In summary, the Ten Commandments are not part of Moshe's commandments speech, but they serve as an introduction to it. They are the basis upon which Moshe constructs the commandments speech: the commandments in this speech complement the Ten Commandments which Israel heard with their own ears at Sinai. In the shiur on parashat Re'eh, I shall hopefully return to this assertion.

b. THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SHEMOT AND DEVARIM

Let us now discuss the differences between the Commandments in Sefer Shemot and the Commandments in Devarim. We shall begin by presenting the differences in capital letters:

SHEMOT 20:

(2) I am the Lord your God Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.

You shall have no other gods before Me.

(3) You shall not make yourself an idol or any likeness that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth below, or that is in the water beneath the earth.

(4) You shall not bow down to them, nor shall you worship them, for I – the Lord your God – am a jealous Deity, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation, for those who hate Me,

(5) and performing kindness to the thousandth generation for those who love Me and observe My commandments.

(6) You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain, for God will not clear him who takes His Name in vain.

(7) REMEMBER the Shabbat day to sanctify it.

(8) Six days you shall work and perform all your labor.

(9) But the seventh day is Shabbat for the Lord your God; you shall not perform any labor – you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, and your beast, and the stranger who is in your gates.

(10) FOR IN SIX DAYS GOD MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, AND HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY, THEREFORE GOD BLESSED THE SHABBAT DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT.

(11) Honor your father and your mother in order that your days be lengthened upon the land which the Lord your God gives to you.

(12) You shall not murder;

You shall not commit adultery;

You shall not steal;

You shall not bear FALSE witness against your neighbor.

(13) You shall not covet your neighbor's HOUSE, nor SHALL YOU COVET your neighbor's WIFE, nor his manservant nor his maidservant, NOR his ox or his ass, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

DEVARIM 5:

(6) I am the Lord your God Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.

You shall have no other gods before Me.

(7) You shall not make yourself an idol – any graven image that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth below, or that is in the water beneath the earth.

(8) You shall not bow down to them nor shall you worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous Deity, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, to the third and to the fourth generation, to those who hate Me,

(9) and performing kindness to the thousandth generation to those who love Me and perform My commandments [lit: "His commandments"].

(10) You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain, for God shall not clear him who takes His name in vain.

(11) OBSERVE the Shabbat day to sanctify it, AS THE LORD YOUR GOD COMMANDED YOU.

(12) Six days shall you work and perform all your labor.

(13) But the seventh day is a Shabbat to the Lord your God; you shall not perform any labor – you, and your son and your daughter, and your manservant and your maidservant, AND YOUR OX AND YOUR ASS and ALL your beasts, and the stranger who is within your gates, IN ORDER THAT YOUR MANSERVANT AND MAIDSERVANT CAN REST LIKE YOU DO,

(14) AND YOU SHALL REMEMBER THAT YOU WERE A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND THE LORD YOUR GOD BROUGHT YOU OUT OF THERE WITH A STRONG HAND AND AN OUTSTRETCHED ARM, THEERFORE THE LORD YOUR GOD COMMANDS YOU TO KEEP THE SHABBAT DAY.

(15) Honor your father and your mother AS THE LORD YOUR GOD HAS COMMANDED YOU, in order that your days be lengthened and IN ORDER THAT IT BE GOOD FOR YOU upon the land which the Lord your God gives to you.

(16) You shall not murder;

nor shall you commit adultery;

nor shall you steal;

nor shall you bear VAIN witness against your neighbor,

(17) Nor shall you covet your neighbor's WIFE, nor shall you DESIRE your neighbor's HOUSE, HIS FIELD, his manservant or his maidservant, his ox or his ass, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

The differences may be grouped into the following categories:

A. Omissions and additions of the conjunctive "vav" ("and").

B. Differences in style: "Remember" as opposed to "observe"; "false witness" as opposed to "vain witness"; "you shall not covet" as opposed to "you shall not desire."

C. Additions: "As the Lord your God commanded you"; "your ox and your ass and all your beasts"; "in order that your manservant and maidservant can rest as you do"; "in order that it be good for you"; "his field."

D. Differences in order: in the commandment "you shall not covet," the text in Shemot mentions first the house and afterwards the wife; in Devarim the order is reversed.

E. Different reasons given for the commandment of Shabbat.

c. RABBINIC EXPLANATIONS OF THE DISCREPANCIES

In explaining the differences between the Commandments in Shemot and the Commandments in Devarim, we find two major approaches among the commentaries. The first arises from the following Talmudic passage:

Rabbi Chanina ben Agil asked Rabbi Chiya bar Abba: For what reason do the first Commandments not mention "good," while the second Commandments do mention "good"? [Rashi explains that this refers to the commandment to honor parents, in which we are told, "In order that it be good for you."]

He answered him, Before you ask me why the text mentions "good" there, you should first ask whether or not it mentions good, for I do not know whether or not it mentions good. Go to Rabbi Tanchum bar Chanilai, who was in close contact with Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, who was proficient in the "aggada."

[Rabbi Chanina] went to him, and [Rabbi Tanchum] said: I did not hear it from [Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi], but this is what I heard from Shemuel bar Nachum, uncle of Rav Achi son of Rabbi Chanina (and some say the grandfather of Rav Ahi son of Rabbi Chanina): "[The word 'good' was omitted from the first tablets] because they were ultimately destined to be broken."

And what does it matter that they were destined to be broken? Rav Ashi said: Heaven forefend that good should cease from Israel. (Bava Kama 54b-55a)

Rabbi Chanina's question pertains to one of the differences between the formulation of the Ten Commandments in Sefer Shemot and their formulation in Sefer Devarim. Rabbi Tanchum bar Chanilai's answer, in the name of Shemuel bar Nachum, teaches that – to his view – the Ten Commandments in Shemot are what was written on the first set of tablets, while the formulation in Sefer Devarim represents what was written on the second set of tablets.

This approach, which certainly has merit on the level of homiletical interpretation (derash), is difficult to accept on the literal level, since according to the simple meaning of the text, Moshe conveys in Sefer Devarim the same Ten Commandments given on Mount Sinai prior to the sin of the golden calf.

The other approach, prevalent among most of the commentators, regards the Ten Commandments as recorded in Sefer Shemot as an exact quotation of God's words, while in Sefer Devarim they are Moshe's paraphrase. In Sefer Devarim, the Ten Commandments are brought within the framework of Moshe's recollection of the Revelation at Sinai as an introduction to the commandments speech. In this recollection, Moshe allows himself certain slight changes for the purposes of clarification and emphasis.[1] A prominent representative of this approach is Ibn Ezra:

For the Ten Commandments written in parashat Shemot are the words of God, with no additions or omissions, and these alone were written on the Tablets of Testimony… while the Ten Commandments written in parashat Va-etchanan were uttered by Moshe. (long commentary, Shemot 20:1)[2]

Ibn Ezra brings powerful support for this view: "The complete proof for this is that [in Va-etchanan] it is written twice, 'as the Lord your God commanded you.'" In other words, two of the Commandments in Va-etchanan contain the expression, "as the Lord your God commanded you" – once in the commandment concerning Shabbat, and then again in the command to honor parents. Moshe's use of this expression, to Ibn Ezra's mind, is meant to hint at God's words uttered on Mount Sinai.[3] It appears that Ibn Ezra's intention here was indeed to explain the literal text. Further on, I shall suggest a slightly different explanation for these words and try to explain why this addition is mentioned specifically in the context of these Commandments.

Among the commentators who adopt this approach there are two sub-categories. One school seeks to diminish and muffle the significance of the differences between the Ten Commandments in Shemot and those in Devarim. An outstanding representative of this school is Ibn Ezra in his above commentary. For example, he writes there: "'Vain' and 'false' mean the same thing, likewise 'covet' and 'desire' are twins." In other words, one should not be so finicky about the changes that Moshe introduces; what we have is the same message in different words. This is what Ibn Ezra declared in the introduction to his commentary there:

Know that the words are like bodies, and the meanings – like the souls. And the body is like a vessel for the soul. Therefore, the rule of the wise, with regard to any language, is to adhere to the meaning and not to worry about differences in phrasing, since they mean the same thing.

The other school maintains that the reason for each and every one of the differences should be sought. I believe that this approach is the correct one. After all, the text teaches us, "It is not an empty thing for you" (32:47), and the Sages teach: "If it is empty – it is from you; i.e., you do not know how to explain it" (Bereishit Rabba, 1). Let us attempt, therefore, to explain – as far as we are able - the reason for the changes.[4]

d. YOU SHALL NOT COVET

Let us begin with the discrepancies in the commandment, "You shall not covet." Concerning the reversed order of the wife and the house, Ibn Ezra writes:

God said: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house" – because wise people first purchase a house, then marry a wife, then acquire a manservant and maidservant, and an ox and a donkey to plow his field; thus, they are listed in this order in this parasha. But Moshe lists them in a different order, for young men first desire a wife, and only afterwards a home.

In Ibn Ezra's view, the list as it appears in Shemot reflects the proper order, while the list in Moshe's speech reflects the reality.[5] In other words, God's words relate to the ideal situation, while Moshe describes the practical situation as it is. We have already noted that Ibn Ezra attributes no significance to the difference between "coveting" and "desiring."

As I see it, despite the originality of this interpretation, it is difficult to accept it as representing the literal meaning of the text. I shall therefore propose a different explanation for this discrepancy, which appears better suited to the literal text. I maintain that the text in Shemot is constructed in the form of the general and the particular: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house" is the general principle, the details of which are "you shall not covet your neighbor's wife nor his manservant nor his maidservant nor his ox nor his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor."[6] The word "house" here does not mean to refer just to the physical dwelling, but rather is an abstract term including all that belongs to one's neighbor: "your neighbor's wife, his manservant and his maidservant, his ox and his donkey, and all that belongs to your neighbor." All of these details, with the wife at the top of the list, together create the concept of "house." Indeed, our Sages teach: "Rabbi Yossi said: I have never called my wife, 'my wife'; rather, I call my wife 'my home'" (Shabbat 118b).

In Sefer Devarim, on the other hand, Moshe divides the commandment into two levels, drawing a distinction between coveting one's neighbor's wife and having a desire for one's neighbor's property. Here the word "house" is mentioned in its simplest sense – a dwelling place. Moshe thereby seeks to make clear that the severity of coveting someone else's wife is immeasurably greater than the severity of coveting property. Property, once taken, may be returned, but the coveting of someone's wife damages the delicate fibers that connect a person's soul to the woman who shares his life, and undermines the family unit irreparably. The difference between coveting a wife and desiring a house or field is almost like the difference between kidnapping people and stealing money. For this reason, Moshe mentions the coveting of the wife before the desire for property.

It may also be for the same reason that Moshe uses different terminology: a woman is "coveted," while property is "desired." "Desire" (in Hebrew – "ta'ava") usually implies something material, while "coveting" (chemda) tends more towards the spiritual and emotional.[7] Moreover, it may be that in Sefer Devarim, as opposed to Shemot, coveting a wife and desiring property are being presented as two separate commandments. It is possible, then, that in Devarim Moshe joins "I am the Lord your God" and "You shall have no other gods" into the same commandment, while separating "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife" from "You shall not desire your neighbor's house… and everything that belongs to your neighbor," into two commandments.[8]

It is certainly true that the text in Shemot does not mean to suggest equality between the severity of coveting someone's wife and that of coveting his property. A hint at this is to be found in the fact that although the wife is included in the list of things that belong to one's neighbor, as an elaboration of "your neighbor's house," she is nevertheless distinguished from the rest, since "your neighbor's wife" is mentioned separately at the beginning of the list, in contrast to "his manservant and his maidservant, his ox and his donkey, and all that belongs to your neighbor," which are lumped together. Nevertheless, the text lists them together under the heading of "your neighbor's house" in order to establish the prohibition of coveting "all that belongs to your neighbor" upon its common, fundamental foundation: anything that belongs to your neighbor is prohibited to you, because it belongs to him, and it makes no difference how severe the infraction.

This difference may also be related to the fact that in Sefer Devarim all of the latter Commandments are joined together, starting with "You shall not murder," using the conjunctive "vav." We may explain that in Shemot, each of these prohibitions is mentioned independently so as to express its power, independence, and wholeness. In Devarim, these prohibitions are presented as a collection – a sort of list of demands and a progression: You shall not murder, nor shall you commit adultery, nor steal, nor give false witness, nor covet, nor desire. These are prohibitions of action, speech, and thought – from the most severe to the least severe, from the most basic requirement to the requirement that demands a higher moral level. Each demand on the ladder is greater than the previous one.[9]

e. YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS

Let us now address the difference between "You shall not bear false witness ('ed sheker') against your neighbor" and "You shall not bear vain witness ('ed shav') against your neighbor." As noted previously, Ibn Ezra maintains that there is no difference in meaning between these two terms, and he makes no attempt to explain the reason for the change in formulation. Ramban, in his commentary on 5:15, writes:

The meaning of "You shall not bear vain witness against your neighbor" is to prohibit giving testimony about one's neighbor that is insignificant and that will not render him guilty of anything in court. For instance, a person may not testify that "So-and-so said said to give money to another person, and he did not accept it." For "vain" means something meaningless. [10]

The word "shav" is mentioned in Tanakh both in the sense of "worthless" or "for nothing," as Ramban explains here (see also Yirmiyahu 2:30), and in the sense of "falsity," as Ibn Ezra explains (see also Yechezkel 13:8). It appears that the context here tends more towards Ibn Ezra's explanation, and the expression "la-shav" here means something false.

Nonetheless, we must understand why Moshe uses a different term here from the one used in Sefer Shemot. It is possible that by using the word "la-shav," Moshe seeks to connect the Commandment, "You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain ('la-shav')" with the Commandment, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." He wants to teach us that false testimony against one's neighbor is considered as severe a transgression as using God's Name in vain. Support for this hypothesis may be found in the fact that the word "shav" is mentioned nowhere in the Torah other than in the Commandment "You shall not take God's Name in vain" in Shemot and in Devarim, and in the Commandment "You shall not bear false witness" in Devarim, as well as in one other place in Shemot, 23:1 – "You shall not raise a false rumor" – which also belongs to the context of false testimony (see Onkelos ad loc.).

f. THAT IT MAY BE GOOD FOR YOU

Let us now investigate the addition, "That it may be good for you," mentioned in the Commandment to honor parents. We may approach a solution to this question if we examine the context of the many appearances of this expression in Sefer Devarim. This expression, or similar ones, appear in more than ten places in Sefer Devarim, all of them relating this "good" to reward for fulfilling commandments. For example, "You shall observe and listen to all of these things which I command you, IN ORDER THAT IT BE GOOD FOR YOU and for your children after you, forever, if you do what is good and upright in the eyes of the Lord your God" (12:28). In other words, in Sefer Devarim the text often emphasizes that the fulfillment of the commandments is the only way to achieve "good." Compare what is written in 30:15-16 – "Behold, I place before you this day life and good, and death and evil. That which I command you this day – to love the Lord your God and to walk in His ways, and to observe His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, so you will live and multiply…"

On the other hand, the commandment of honoring parents is the only one of the Ten Commandments whose reward the text states explicitly – both in Sefer Shemot and in Sefer Devarim: "in order that your days be lengthened." The connection between honoring parents and a long life is clear: a person who honors his parents, who gave him life, will merit to live a long life. Accordingly, we may say that in Sefer Devarim Moshe seeks to add to the individual reward for honoring parents – longevity – also the general reward for fulfilling all of the commandments. The commandment to honor parents becomes a model for all the commandments, and its reward similarly is the model of the reward for fulfillment of all of the commandments.

g. REASONS FOR SHABBAT

The most striking differences, of course, appear in the commandment of Shabbat. Rambam explains as follows:

Concerning this commandment two different reasons are given, because they have two different purposes: the reason for the sanctification of Shabbat in the first Ten Commandments is, "For in six days God created…," while in Sefer Devarim we read, "You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the Shabbat day." And this is appropriate, since the purpose of the first [version of] the Commandment [i.e., in Shemot] is to honor and sanctify the day, as it is written, "Therefore God blessed the Shabbat day and sanctified it." This is the purpose that is related to the reason, "For in six days…." But the fact that we are commanded to observe it [i.e. "shamor"] is the purpose related to the fact that we were slaves in Egypt. We did not labor as we wanted to and when we wanted to, nor were we able to rest. Therefore we are commanded concerning Shabbat and rest, so as to conjoin the two things: the belief in the creation of the world, which shows that God exists, and the memory of God's kindness in freeing us from the burdens of Egypt. Thus, Shabbat is a general benefit, both in terms of holding correct opinions [regarding God's existence] and in terms of the well-being of the body [in granting us a day of rest. (Guide of the Perplexed II:31)

In Rambam's view, the text in Sefer Shemot is speaking about the actual sanctity of Shabbat. This sanctity is derived from the fact that "in six days God made the heavens and the earth… and He rested on the seventh day … therefore God blessed the Shabbat day and sanctified it." As a result, man is likewise obligated to sanctify Shabbat. In Sefer Devarim, in contrast, the text relates to the People of Israel and explains why they specifically are required to observe the sanctity of Shabbat: "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God took you out of there… therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the Shabbat day." The departure from the slavery of Egypt to rest obliges Am Yisrael to commemorate this for all generations. Using the terminology prevalent in the yeshiva world, we may say that Sefer Shemot talks about the "cheftza" of Shabbat (the object), while Sefer Devarim talks about the "gavra" (the subject) – the person who observes Shabbat.

It is possible that the change from "Remember" to "observe" should also be linked to this. "Remember" refers to the thing itself: we are obligated to remember the Shabbat day, because of its sanctity. "Observe" refers to man's obligation towards Shabbat, and thus the center of gravity moves from the sanctity of Shabbat in and of itself to man's obligation in relation to Shabbat.

The addition in Sefer Devarim - "in order that your manservant and maidservant can rest as you do" - should likewise be attributed to the same idea. In Devarim, the emphasis is on Israel's exodus from slavery as the background to the commandment of Shabbat; it is only natural, then, that the commandment here also includes the obligation to allow one's manservant and maidservant to rest as well.[11] This may also serve to explain the elaboration, "your ox and your donkey and all your beasts" – all emphasizing man's obligation to allow everything that he controls to rest, by virtue of having been brought to freedom by God.

In summary, in Sefer Shemot the emphasis is on the actual sanctity of Shabbat, while Sefer Devarim highlights the nation's moral obligation to observe the sanctity of Shabbat. >From this perspective, this difference is therefore similar to the differences mentioned above in the other Commandments: there, too, the center of gravity moved in Sefer Devarim from the object in and of itself to man's obligation in relation to the object; there, too, the moral aspect of the Commandment was emphasized.[12]

h. AS THE LORD COMMANDED YOU

Let us conclude by addressing the addition, "As the Lord your God commanded you," which appears twice in the Ten Commandments in Sefer Devarim: in the commandment of Shabbat, and in the commandment of honoring parents. We noted above that in Ibn Ezra's view, Moshe is hinting here at the Ten Commandments in Sefer Shemot, but we must still clarify why this phrase appears specifically in the context of these two Commandments. Rashbam writes:

"As the Lord your God commanded you" – in other words, just as the reason is explained in the first Commandments – "for in six days God made the heavens and the earth." And because Shabbat observance and honoring parents are positive commandments, the text says, "as the Lord your God commanded you." But regarding all the other commandments, which are negative, it is not appropriate to say, "as He commanded." It is written, "He commands you this day to perform," but nowhere is it written, "He commands you not to perform."

From the first part of this explanation, it appears that the phrase "as the Lord your God commanded you" hints at the reason for the commandment of Shabbat that appears in Shemot and is omitted in Devarim.[13] The phrase "as the Lord your God commanded you" must be written only where Moshe leaves out something that was previously included in Shemot. But from the last part of the explanation, it appears that this phrase should actually be included in every one of the Ten Commandments, were it not for the fact that the Torah does not say "as God commanded" in relation to negative commandments.

Perhaps we may suggest a different interpretation: it is specifically in those two Commandments in which significant changes were introduced that the text emphasizes "as the Lord your God commanded you." This phrase does not mean to hint at what Moshe left out of his words; on the contrary, it emphasizes that also what is written here – seemingly Moshe's own words – is also included in what "the Lord your God commanded you." The phrase teaches that even though Moshe presents a different aspect of the Ten Commandments in Sefer Devarim, it is nevertheless all part of what "the Lord your God commanded you." This phrase does not meant to refer to the different formulation of the Commandments in Sefer Shemot, as Ibn Ezra and Rashbam maintain, but rather to God's words at Mount Sinai. The very fact that the Torah includes the repeat version of the Ten Commandments teaches that Moshe's formulation is to be relied upon. We also learn this from what we read at the end of the Ten Commandments in Sefer Devarim: "These things God spoke to all of your congregation."

The first version of the Ten Commandments and the second version of them therefore represent two aspects of the manifestation of the Divine will. Although they are two aspects, they arise from the same source. This embodies the teaching of the Sages:

"Remember" and "observe" were both stated in the same utterance … as it is written (Tehillim 62:12), "One God has spoken; two I have heard." (Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael, Massekhta de-Bachodesh, parasha 7)

NOTES:

[1] The Maharal, in Tiferet Yisrael chapter 43, maintains that the former approach does not contradict this one, but is rather an additional one – see ad loc.

[2] See also Ramban on Shemot 20:7, and elsewhere.

[3] In contrast to Rashi, who understand the expression as hinting at the commands uttered prior to the Revelation at Sinai – see his commentary ad loc.

[4] The scope of this shiur does not allow us to review the range of commentaries and opinions offered with regard to these differences. Our aim here is to present a certain approach, with a few other opinions offered only with a view to supporting and clarifying it.

[5] Compare with Rambam, Laws of Knowledge, chapter 5 law 11.

[6] For this reason it is not appropriate for there to be a conjunctive "vav" before "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife."

[7] Compare: "The woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and that it was desirable ("taavah") to the eyes and pleasant (nehmad) to the senses" (Bereishit 3:6). The Maharal proposes a similar explanation in Tiferet Yisrael chapter 45, however his general direction in explaining the differences in this Commandment is different from ours.

[8] Ibn Ezra mentions this division in his commentary on Devarim, but rejects it in his commentary on Shemot. The same division is hinted at in the division of the 'parashiot' in Shemot and in Devarim. However, neither Ibn Ezra nor those who divided up the parashiot made a distinction in this regard between the Commandments in Shemot and the Commandments in Devarim. The innovation in our suggestion here is that in this detail there is a difference between Shemot and Devarim.

[9] Abarbanel suggests a similar idea.

[10] Abarbanel adopts the same explanation.

[11] Compare what we learn in Devarim 15:15 in the command to free a servant: "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today."

[12] This formulation follows very closely the explanation offered by Maharal in Tiferet Yisrael, chapter 44, drawing a distinction between Sefer Shemot – which expresses the perspective of the Giver – and Sefer Devarim, which represents the receiver. Maharal goes on to develop this idea in a different direction – see ad loc.

[13] Ibn Ezra adopts the same interpretation in his commentary on Shemot.

Translated by Kaeren Fish

 
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