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There is a wide variety of interpretations of The Ten Commandments. Some traditions number the Ten Commandments differently than others. One example is the interpretation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Other interpretations include the numbering of the Commandments, the observance of the sabbath day, and differences in translation. In this article, we will look at the differences between these traditions.
Traditions of Judaism differ in numbering the Ten Commandments
While no young person today knows all the Ten Commandments, I recently talked to an adult who claimed to know all of them. I was confused by her explanation, since I had been told that Protestants, Catholics, and Jews have different versions of these commandments. But, I was also curious about how Jewish people interpret the Ten Commandments, and why they differ in numbering.
In a brief explanation of each tradition, Jews and Christians differ in their numbering of the Ten Commandments. According to Catholic tradition, the first commandment is universal, while Jews and Christians list the laws in order of importance. In Protestant tradition, the last commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” has a stricter penalty than the other nine. Nonetheless, both lists are still valid.
Christians and Jews assign different numbers to the Commandments, and each has its own preference for the order. While the Jewish tradition places the prologue and preamble as the First Commandments, the prohibitions against idolatry and polytheism are placed in the Second. Among the Protestant Reformed and Catholic churches, this division has become the tradition. While both practices have their benefits and drawbacks, most commentators agree that the first group of commandments is the more accurate one.
Some Jews argue that it is wrong to teach the Ten Commandments in public schools. They feel that teaching Judaism in public schools violates the Ten Commandments and should be taught by Jewish parents, who themselves are practicing Jews. But in reality, public school teachers and students are not Jewish. Therefore, if you’re Jewish, you should teach your children about Judaism as you would any other religion.
Jewish tradition also says that the Hebrew text is the original law. Although the Torah is written in the first person, it speaks in the third person. Some rabbis suggest that the Israelites were only told two of the commandments at Sinai. However, the Hebrew text says that all ten were heard without human mediation. The texts in the Jewish Bible were studied by Charles and Nielsen.
Keep the sabbath day
The Jewish people are obligated to keep the Sabbath day holy. As the Ten Commandments make clear, we should not work or perform any mundane task on this day. The only exception to this is medical work, which can be safely performed on Shabbat. Instead, Jews should spend the day with their family, attend synagogue services, eat home-cooked meals, and unplug from electronics. The Sabbath day is a time for physical and emotional renewal.
The Hebrew word shabbat is the source of the English word Sabbath and many other languages. Shabbat literally means “to cease from work.” The Bible refers to this day as the sabbath because God stopped working on the seventh day. Exodus 20:11 describes this day as a “taste” of the Messiah’s coming.
A traditional Jewish sabbath service begins at sunset, with Jewish women lighting white candles before the sunset. A Qiddush, or blessing of sanctification, is recited before the first meal of the Sabbath. An abbreviated Qiddush is recited before the first meal on the Sabbath. In addition to the Qiddush, Jews light Shabbat candles on Friday evening and during the first meal of the morning.
Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism. The Ten Commandments establish the Sabbath as a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. More aliyot are recited on the Sabbath than any other day of the week. Shabbat is a special day, a time of rest and reflection. It is also the day when the Torah is read, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.
As a general rule, keeping the Sabbath as holy requires one to avoid the use of electricity. This is prohibited because electricity is similar to fire. A refrigerator’s light bulbs must be removed during Shabbat, and a refrigerator must be programmed to turn off the lights on Shabbat. The following are a few other ways to keep the Sabbath in orthodox Judaism.
Interpretation of the Samaritan Pentateuch
The early Pentateuch was a shared work between Jews and Samaritans. Although this is the prevailing view, some scholars believe that the early Pentateuch was a creation of Samaritan communities. This view, however, should be treated with caution. In many instances, the early Pentateuch is not the final word on Samaritans, as the ancient Samaritans were not orthodox Jews.
As regards the text, the Samaritans adopted the division of the Torah into five books. They also accepted the authority of the Old Testament. This reading is not found in pre-Samaritan texts. It is possible that the original texts had many parallels. This makes the interpretation of the Samaritan Pentateuch somewhat more complex and controversial.
The Samaritan Pentateuch was a translation of the Jewish Pentateuch. The Samaritan version was used in a Samaritan synagogue in Nablus. Abisha, the great-grandson of Moses and Aaron, allegedly wrote it. Whether or not this is the case, he penned the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch.
The Samaritan Bibles share the same storyline, but the texts of the ancient sources differ. Although they share the same storyline, the texts are not identical in spelling and grammar. For instance, the SP Numbers and Exodus differ by an unknown number of letters. In addition, they differ in lexical and theological variations. These differences make it difficult to discern what text is most accurate.
Benny’s family ancestors made a significant contribution to the field. This heritage led him to study Samaritan texts at many libraries around the world. He is one of the few Samaritan scholars who is fluent in the Samaritan Hebrew alphabet. Libraries frequently call on him to catalog their Samaritan collections. The study of Samaritan texts is important in both the history and the future of Judaism.
Differences in translation
The Hebrew text has a casuistic structure with a single participle or imperative clause per five-beat line of verse. Traditionally, the Israelites heard only two of the commandments; however, the Hebrew text claims that the Israelites heard all ten without any human mediation. There have been many studies analyzing the Hebrew text, and Charles and Nielsen, as well as Jewish scholars such as Kratz and Graupner, have compared and analyzed the Ten Commandments.
Although the Hebrew text uses the term ‘ten words’ for the list, the first ‘word’ is a prologue. The rest of the list is organized according to specific laws: the 10th commandment, for instance, forbids the Israelites from making idols, and the ninth commandment forbids the creation of graven images. The Hebrew text is well-structured, and the division of the coveting prohibition into two separate laws is not consistent with that. In the Bible, people cannot swear to tell the truth to anyone and may lose their lives if they do.
The Ten Commandments are divided into two groups based on the length of the commandments. One group has four commandments, while the other contains six. Augustine suggested two groups and this division has become the standard in both Lutheran and Catholic churches. Lutheran translations enumerate the first three and last seven, while Catholics and Protestants have divided the text into two groups. The second group has a more balanced approach, as the first group is three times longer than the second.
Some communities have traditionally stood during the reading of the Ten Commandments. Maimonides, however, opposes this practice, claiming that it gives the Ten Commandments more weight than any other text. Indeed, the Ten Commandments are the basis of many Jewish laws. Its influence on law is significant and warrants careful consideration. Therefore, the differences in translations are inevitable.
The Ten Commandments in Catholic and Protestant translations differ on several points. The Catholic version, for example, has the same ten commandments as Protestants do, but excludes the prohibition on graven images. Protestant translations, on the other hand, retain the prohibition. In the Catholic version, this prohibition is not there, as Catholics have adopted images for their worship.