KiTisa - The Other 10 Commandments

After the prayer of the 13 attributes of mercy in Shmot chapter 34, we find the following covenant described (starting in verse 10):

1 10 Then the LORD said: I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.

11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

15 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

2 17 Do not make any idols

3 18 Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt

4 19 The first offspring of every womb belongs to Me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.

5 No one is to appear before Me empty-handed

6 21 Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest

7 22 Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.

8 25 Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to Me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning

9 26 Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.

10 Do not cook a young goat in it's mother

Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant - the Ten Commandments

I call these the particularistic 10 Commandments, the other set is more Universal in character. In fact, apart from here, the only other place the phrase "the 10 Commandments" appears is in Devarim, Veethchanan, an not in Shmot where they first appear. This alternate list of commendments places much more emphasis on the holidays ( hence this is part of the Yom Tov Torah reading) and ritual. The 10 commandments in Shmot are almost entirely universal laws, things that Noahides should also perform. Even keeping the sabbath is explained there in universal terms, keep it because God creted the world. This list thus is more concerned with forming the national identity.

Another set of Ten Commandments is the section in Kedoshim. Vayikra 19:1 -19:22. I have been told that various commentators make this claim but I think my set is more similar.

© Nachum Danzig