Feb 16 2017 Dvar Torah

Rabbi Robert Eisen

So, why did God give us 10 fingers? So we would be able to count … and therefore remember (!) … The Ten Commandments – which are found in their first appearance in our Torah Portion for this week: (specifically) Exodus 20: 1-14.

No, really … go ahead and count them off one by one … finger by finger … your hands will be full!

By the way, how many do we remember? Do we have them in the correct order? I know when I go to the grocery store if I need more than three things I write out a list. So how do we remember to keep these commandments straight? With our fingers! … ?

What is the connection to our fingers? I would suggest that the connection is deliberate (10 of each) to remind us that we are not dealing with just a collection of words turned into verses … or, just a list of suggestions … but, rather, specific commandments/instructions that are to be more than thought about, they are to be done – guide the way in which we construct each and every moment of our days in this world. Even as they are firmly reflected in the meditations of our hearts (few are those who do not accept The Ten Commandments as being essential for civilization to survive and thrive) if they are to mean anything, they are to be done … brought to life through the works of our hands.

Why 10? Is it because that is the number of fingers we have? Collapse the number. 10 = 1 + 0 which = 1. 1 … like One God – unique, unified, there is none other. We can say we believe anything to anyone. However, if we want to say to and as ourselves that we believe in God … that we do have faith … we have to show it. Our values are not what we SAY we believe, they are what we DO.

So why did God give us 10 fingers spread across two hands? So we could put our hands together and pull ourselves, and this world in which we live, forward to a place that we want (and want it) to be. That cannot be done without a sure framework such as that which The Ten Commandments provide us … and will not be done unless we do it ourselves.

Count your fingers … put your hands together … and then let’s join hands – come together as one – and make the words come alive in and through the way we are living our lives.

These were not suggestions, they were commandments … and can be the statement of faith that will bring us closer to ourselves, to each other, and to God.