- Believe in God
- Don’t Believe in Other Gods
- Don’t Blaspheme (that means to curse, swear falsely, or to use God’s name in vain. I will explain this commandment – and some of the others – in future posts)
- Honor Your Parents
- Don’t Kill
- Don’t Commit Adultery
- Don’t Steal
- Don’t Bear False Witness (that means don’t go to court and lie)
- Don’t Covet (that means don’t look at your friend’s stuff and say, “I want it!”)
But what about Shabbos?
According to the Torah, the reason you keep Shabbos is because God created the world in six days (He worked) and rested on the seventh. You have to do the same thing: work for six days and rest on the seventh. It is a good idea. You are commanded to take at least one day off every week.
But why is it listed as one of the Ten Commandments? The Ten Commandments are the pillars of Judaism. Belief in God is a pillar. Be a Good Person is a pillar. But a six-day workweek, is that a pillar? It is a good idea. But many other commandments are good ideas, too. Charity is a good idea – why isn’t it one of the Ten Commandments? Love Your Fellow Man is a good idea – why isn’t it listed? How did the six-day workweek end up as one of the Ten Commandments?
And think about what you are supposed to do on Shabbos. You are supposed to eat a little more, drink a little more, and sleep a little more. Many people sing songs about eating, drinking, and sleeping. Is taking it easy and enjoying life a pillar of Judaism?
Life is a gift. Your parents give you gifts because they love you. They give you these gifts so you will enjoy them. It makes them happy when they see you enjoying the gifts they gave you. (See my earlier post about blessings). God gave you life as a gift. He wants you to enjoy it.
But it isn’t always easy and sometimes you forget. You get busy, distracted, worried, or whatever. And sometimes you are so busy being a good person that you forget that life is great.
Shabbos happens once a week. It happens whether you want it or not, are inspired or not, or feel like it or not. And when you keep it, you enjoy the things you forgot about when you were distracted and busy. Shabbos forces you to remember that life is a gift.
That is why Shabbos is the fourth commandment.
You might think that the implication of belief in God (the first three commandments) is to be a good person (the last six commandments). But that is not true. According to the Ten Commandments, the implication of belief in God is to love life. God gave you life as a gift. Don’t worry about being a good person until you know how great it is to be alive.
And that is what Shabbos is all about: love God and the great world He gave you. Appreciate it, experience it, and realize that it is all a gift.