Real Ten Commandments Not Like The Movie


Insight into: Vaetchanan 

“But in the movie, it’s different!”

This comment is one that I often get when discussing the events that took place on Mount Sinai, when G‑d gave the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people. 

I find it very hard to convince people not to believe something they saw with their own eyes. True, it’s just a movie, but Charlton Heston (in the role of Moses) became a greater authority than the Bible itself! 

In general, the movie is pretty accurate, but if you look carefully, it missed one little piece. Alas, that piece is the foundation of Jewish religion and the basis of our belief in the Torah and Moses.In the movie, only Moses receives the Ten Commandments

In the movie, only Moses receives the Ten Commandments from G‑d, during which time the Jewish people are busy creating the Golden Calf and worshipping it. 

But if you open the Torah to the parasha of this week, Vaetchanan, the Torah describes how the entire nation, every man, woman and child, stood at the foot of the mountain and heard the voice of G‑d enumerating the Ten Commandments. This experience took place on the holiday of Shavuot. The Golden Calf fiasco occurred forty days later. 

Moses reminds the Children of Israel of this event as he says, “God spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you were hearing the sounds of words but were not seeing a form, only a sound ... Has a people ever heard the voice of G‑d speaking from the midst of a fire as you have heard and survived?” (Deuteronomy 4:12/4:33) 

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that the uniqueness of Mount Sinai’s event was that it was a public revelation. This was not a story of one man claiming that G‑d spoke to him and gave him a message for humanity. Judaism is based on the millions of eyewitnesses who saw and heard the revelation of G‑d. 

Plenty of Holocaust deniers are running around and claiming that the Holocaust never took place. They can refute the photos, deny the films, ignore the stories, but there is one thing that they cannot fight: the living witnesses who were there. This is the strongest proof of our history.

The same is true about Mount Sinai. Jews from all parts of the world tell the same story. Their ancestors stood at Mount Sinai and witnessed the giving of the Ten Commandments. 

This is the power of Judaism, and this is the secret to our survival. Each and every Jew, from the most learned to the most ignorant, has equal ties to this most important moment in history.