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A Shabbat and Shavuot Nugget

This upcoming Wednesday and Thursday is the holiday of Shavuot, which is the anniversary of the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai.  One of the highlights of the Shavuot holiday is the reading of the Ten Commandments to commemorate the moment when the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai and heard the Ten Commandments from G-d some 3,339 years ago.

The Ten Commandments begins with the words “I am Hashem your G-d who has taken you out of the land of Egypt.” The opening words I am Hashem your G-d are written in the singular form thereby expressing a fundamental teaching of Judaism.

When we look at our large world we can sometimes feel that in the larger picture we are very small and insignificant. We might say to ourselves “if I was a great leader or very powerful person, then I would be significant but I am an ordinary person so how important can my accomplishments be?” Therefore, the Ten Commandments begin: “I am Hashem your G-d” in the singular form to tell us that Hashem says that he has a distinct relationship with each individual as if he was only their G-d.

This idea is expressed in the Midrash that says that when G-d spoke the Ten Commandments, each person said and felt that G-d was talking to him exclusively.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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