Yitro (parsha): Wikis

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Yitro, Yithro, or Yisro (יתרו — Hebrew for “Jethro,” the second word and first distinctive word in the parshah) is the seventeenth weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the fifth in the Book of Exodus. It constitutes Exodus 18:1–20:23. Jews in the Diaspora read it the seventeenth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in late January or February.

Jews also read part of the parshah, Exodus 19:1–20:23, as a Torah reading on the first day of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments.

view from Mount Sinai

Contents

Summary

1768 Decalogue parchment by Jekuthiel Sofer
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Jethro reforms adjudication

Moses’ father–in–law Jethro heard all that God had done for the Israelites and brought Moses’ wife Zipporah and her two sons Gershom (“I have been a stranger here”) and Eliezer (“God was my help") to Moses in the wilderness at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 18:1–5.) Jethro rejoiced, blessed God, and offered sacrifices to God. (Exodus 18:9–12.) The people stood from morning until evening waiting for Moses to adjudicate their disputes. (Exodus 18:13.) Jethro counselled Moses to make known the law, and then choose capable, trustworthy, God–fearing men to serve as chiefs to judge the people, bringing only the most difficult matters to Moses. (Exodus 18:14–23.) Moses heeded Jethro’s advice. (Exodus 18:24.) Then Moses bade Jethro farewell, and Jethro went home. (Exodus 18:27.)

The Ten Commandments

Three months to the day after the Israelites left Egypt, they entered the wilderness at the foot of Mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:1–2.) Moses went up Mount Sinai, and God told him to tell the Israelites that if they would obey God faithfully and keep God’s covenant, they would be God’s treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. (Exodus 19:3–6.) When Moses told the elders, all the people answered: “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the people’s words to God. (Exodus 19:7–8.) God instructed Moses to have the people stay pure, wash their clothes, and prepare for the third day, when God would come down in the sight of the people, on Mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:10–11.) God told Moses to set bounds round the mountain, threatening whoever touched the mountain with death, and Moses did so. (Exodus 19:12–15.)

At dawn of the third day, there was thunder, lightning, a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the horn. (Exodus 19:16.) Moses led the people to the foot of the mountain. (Exodus 19:17.) Mount Sinai was all in smoke, the mountain trembled violently, the blare of the horn grew louder and louder, and God answered Moses in thunder. (Exodus 19:18–19.) God came down on the top of Mount Sinai, and called Moses up. (Exodus 19:20.) God again commanded Moses to warn the people not to break through. (Exodus 19:21.)

Exodus 20:1–5 in a manuscript from the British Library

God spoke the Ten Commandments:

  • “I the Lord am your God.” (Exodus 20:2.)
  • “You shall have no other gods besides Me. You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.” (Exodus 20:2–5; 20:3–6 in the NJPS.)
  • “You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:6; 20:7 in the NJPS.)
  • “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:7–10; 20:8–11 in the NJPS.)
  • “Honor your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:11; 20:12 in the NJPS.)
  • “You shall not murder.”
  • “You shall not commit adultery.”
  • “You shall not steal.”
  • “You shall not bear false witness.” (Exodus 20:12; 20:13 in the NJPS.)
  • “You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:13; 20:14 in the NJPS.)

(A note on verse numbering: The Mechon Mamre Hebrew–English Bible to which articles in this series link numbers its verses according to the Lower Trope Marks system, in which the verses are numbered naturally in their form for study. Many Jewish Bibles in both Hebrew and English (including the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text, the New Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, and the ArtScroll Chumash) use the numbering of the Upper Trope Marks system as used for public readings. Parallel verse numbering thus appears for the Ten Commandments here in Exodus 20, as well as in Deuteronomy 5.)

Seeing the thunder, lightning, and the mountain smoking, the people fell back and asked Moses to speak to them instead of God. (Exodus 20:14–15; 20:15–16 in the NJPS.) God told Moses to tell the people not make any gods of silver or gold, but an altar of earth for sacrifices. (Exodus 20:16–20; 20:17–21 in the NJPS.) God prohibited hewing the stones to make a stone altar. (Exodus 20:21; 20:22 in the NJPS.) And God prohibited ascending the altar by steps, so as not to exposed the priests’ nakedness. (Exodus 20:22; 20:23 in the NJPS.|)

In classical rabbinic interpretation

Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua (17th Century Italian School painting)

Exodus chapter 18

The Tannaim debated what news Jethro heard in Exodus 18:1 that caused him to adopt the faith of Moses. Rabbi Joshua said that Jethro heard of the Israelites’ victory over the Amalekites, as Exodus 17:13 reports the results of that battle immediately before Exodus 18:1 reports Jethro’s hearing of the news. Rabbi Eleazar of Modim said that Jethro heard of the giving of the Torah, for when God gave Israel the Torah, the sound travelled from one end of the earth to the other, and all the world’s kings trembled in their palaces and sang, as Psalm 29:9 reports, “The voice of the Lord makes the hinds to tremble . . . and in His temple all say: ‘Glory.’” The kings then converged upon Balaam and asked him what the tumultuous noise was that they had heard — perhaps another flood, or perhaps a flood of fire. Balaam told them that God had a precious treasure in store, which God had hidden for 974 generations before the creation of the world, and God desired to give it to God’s children, as Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord will give strength to His people.” Immediately they all exclaimed the balance of Psalm 29:11: “The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Rabbi Eleazar said that Jethro heard about the dividing of the Reed Sea, as Joshua 5:1 reports, “And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the children of Israel,” and Rahab the harlot too told Joshua’s spies in Joshua 2:10: “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea.” (Babylonian Talmud Zevachim 116a.)

Exodus chapter 19

The Mekhilta deduced from the use of the singular form of the verb “encamped” (vayichan, וַיִּחַן) in Exodus 19:2 that all the Israelites agreed and were of one mind. (Mekhilta Bahodesh 47:3:1.)

The Mishnah noted that oxen were the same as all other beasts insofar as they were required by Exodus 19:12–13 to keep away from Mount Sinai. (Mishnah Bava Kamma 5:7.)

The Mishnah deduced from Exodus 19:15 that a woman who emits semen on the third day after intercourse is unclean. (Mishnah Shabbat 9:3.)

Reading the words “And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, to the top of the mount” in Exodus 19:20, the Mekhilta supposed that one might think that God actually descended from heaven and transferred God’s Presence to the mountain. Thus the Mekhilta noted that Exodus 20:18 (20:19 in the NJPS) says: “You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven,” and deduced that God bent down the heavens, lowering them to the top of the mountain, and spread the heavens as a person spreads a mattress on a bed, and spoke from the heavens as a person would speak from the top of a mattress. (Mekhilta Bahodesh 50:1:11–12.)

2nd Century B.C.E. Decalogue (from the Nash Papyrus)

Exodus chapter 20

Rabbi Levi said that the section beginning at Leviticus 19:1 was spoken in the presence of the whole Israelite people, because it includes each of the Ten Commandments, noting that: (1) Exodus 20:2 says, “I am the Lord your God,” and Leviticus 19:3 says, “I am the Lord your God”; (2) Exodus 20:2–3 says, “You shall have no other gods,” and Leviticus 19:4 says, “Nor make to yourselves molten gods”; (3) Exodus 20:6 (20:7 in the NJPS) says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,” and Leviticus 19:12 says, “And you shall not swear by My name falsely”; (4) Exodus 20:7 (20:8 in the NJPS) says, “Remember the Sabbath day,” and Leviticus 19:3 says, “And you shall keep My Sabbaths”; (5) Exodus 20:11 (20:12 in the NJPS) says, “Honor your father and your mother,” and Leviticus 19:3 says, “You shall fear every man his mother, and his father”; (6) Exodus 20:12 (20:13 in the NJPS) says, “You shall not murder,” and Leviticus 19:16 says, “Neither shall you stand idly by the blood of your neighbor”; (7) Exodus 20:12 (20:13 in the NJPS) says, “You shall not commit adultery,” and Leviticus 20:10 says, “Both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death; (8) Exodus 20:12 (20:13 in the NJPS) says, “You shall not steal,” and Leviticus 19:11 says, “You shall not steal”; (9) Exodus 20:12 (20:13 in the NJPS) says, “You shall not bear false witness,” and Leviticus 19:16 says, “You shall not go up and down as a talebearer”; and (10) Exodus 20:13 (20:14 in the NJPS) says, “You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor's,” and Leviticus 19:18 says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus Rabbah 24:5.)

The Mishnah taught that those who engaged in idol worship were executed, whether they served it, sacrificed to it, offered it incense, made libations to it, prostrated themselves to it, accepted it as a god, or said to it “You are my god.” But those who embraced, kissed, washed, anointed, clothed, or swept or sprinkled the ground before an idol merely transgressed the negative commandment of Exodus 20:4 (20:5 in the NJPS) and were not executed. (Mishnah Sanhedrin 7:6; Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 60b.)

The Gemara reconciled apparently discordant verses touching on vicarious responsibility. The Gemara noted that Deuteronomy 24:16 states: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin,” but Exodus 20:4 (20:5 in the NJPS) says: “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children.” The Gemara cited a Baraita that interpreted the words “the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them” in Leviticus 26:39 to teach that God punishes children only when they follow their parents’ sins. The Gemara then questioned whether the words “they shall stumble one upon another” in Leviticus 26:37 do not teach that one will stumble through the sin of the other, that all are held responsible for one another. The Gemara answered that the vicarious responsibility of which Leviticus 26:37 speaks is limited to those who have the power to restrain their fellow from evil but do not do so. (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 27b.)

Tractates Nedarim and Shevuot in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Jerusalem Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud interpreted the laws of vows in Exodus 20:6 (20:7 in the NJPS), Leviticus 5:1–10 and (19:12, Numbers 30:2–17, and Deuteronomy 23:24. (Mishnah Nedarim 1:1–11:11; Tosefta Nedarim 1:1–7:8; Jerusalem Talmud Nedarim 1a–; Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 2a–91b; Mishnah Shevuot 1:1–8:6; Tosefta Shevuot 1:1–6:7; Jerusalem Talmud Shevuot 1a–; Babylonian Talmud Shevuot 2a–49b.)

Rabbi Akiba (illustration from the 1568 Mantua Haggadah)

Tractate Shabbat in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Jerusalem Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud interpreted the laws of the Sabbath in Exodus 20:7–10 (20:8–11 in the NJPS). (Mishnah Shabbat 1:1–24:5; Tosefta Shabbat 1:1–17:29; Jerusalem Talmud Shabbat 1a–; Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 2a–157b.)

The Mishnah interpreted the prohibition of animals working in Exodus 20:9 (20:10 in the NJPS) to teach that on the Sabbath, animals could wear their tethers, and their caretakers could lead them by their tethers and sprinkle or immerse them with water. (Mishnah Shabbat 5:1; Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 51b.) The Mishnah taught that a donkey could go out with a saddle cushion tied to it, rams strapped, ewes covered, and goats with their udders tied. Rabbi Jose forbade all these, except covering ewes. Rabbi Judah allowed goats to go out with their udders tied to dry, but not to save their milk. (Mishnah Shabbat 5:2; Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 52b.) The Mishnah taught that animals could not go out with a pad tied to their tails. A driver could not tie camels together and pull one of them, but a driver could take the leads of several camels in hand and pull them. (Mishnah Shabbat 5:3; Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 54a.) The Mishnah prohibited donkeys with untied cushions, bells, ladder–shaped yokes, or thongs around their feet; fowls with ribbons or leg straps; rams with wagons; ewes protected by wood chips in their noses; calves with little yokes; and cows with hedgehog skins or straps between their horns. The Mishnah reported that Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah’s cow used to go out with a thong between its horns, but without the consent of the Rabbis. (Mishnah Shabbat 5:4; Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 54b.)

A midrash noted that almost everywhere, Scripture mentions a father's honor before the mother's honor. (E.g., Exodus 20:11 (20:12 in NJSP), Deuteronomy 5:15 (5:16 in the NJPS), 27:16) But Leviticus 19:3 mentions the mother first to teach that one should honor both parents equally. (Genesis Rabbah 1:15.)

According to the Mishnah, if witnesses testified that a person was liable to receive 40 lashes, and the witnesses turned out to have perjured themselves, then Rabbi Meir taught that the perjurers received 80 lashes — 40 on account of the commandment of Exodus 20:12 (20:13 in the NJPS) not to bear false witness and 40 on account of the instruction of Deuteronomy 19:19 to do to perjurers as they intended to do to their victims — but the Sages said that they received only 40 lashes. (Mishnah Makkot 1:3; Babylonian Talmud Makkot 4a.)

Rabbi Ishmael interpreted the words “all the people perceived the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the horn” in Exodus 20:14 (20:15 in the NJPS) to mean that the people saw what could be seen and heard what could be heard. But Rabbi Akiba said that they saw and heard what was perceivable, and they saw the fiery word of God strike the tablets. (Mekhilta Bahodesh 55:1:1.)

The Mishnah deduced from Exodus 20:20 (20:21 in the NJPS) that even when only a single person sat occupied with Torah, the Shekhinah was with the student. (Mishnah Avot 3:6.)

Commandments

According to Sefer ha-Chinuch, there are 3 positive and 14 negative commandments in the parshah:

“Isaiah's Lips Anointed with Fire” (painting by Benjamin West)

(Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education. Translated by Charles Wengrov, 1:141–97. Jerusalem: Feldheim Pub., 1991. ISBN 0-87306-179-9.)

Haftarah

The haftarah for the parshah is Isaiah 6:1–7:6 and 9:5–6.

Both the parshah and the haftarah recount God’s revelation. Both the parshah and the haftarah describe Divine Beings as winged. (Ex. 19:4; Is. 6:2.) Both the parshah and the haftarah report God’s presence accompanied by shaking and smoke. (Ex. 19:18; Is. 6:4.) And both the parshah and the haftarah speak of making Israel a holy community. (Ex. 19:6; Is. 6:13.)

In the liturgy

The second blessing before the Shema speaks of how God “loves His people Israel,” reflecting the statement of Exodus 19:5 that Israel is God’s people. (Reuven Hammer. Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, 29. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2003. ISBN 0-916219-20-8.)

The fire surrounding God’s Presence in Exodus 19:16–28 is reflected in Psalm 97:3, which is in turn one of the six Psalms recited at the beginning of the Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service. (Hammer, at 17.)

The Lekhah Dodi liturgical poem of the Kabbalat Shabbat service quotes both the commandment of Exodus 20:7 (Ex. 20:8 in the NJPS) to “remember” the Sabbath and the commandment of Deuteronomy 5:11 (Deut. 5:12 in the NJPS) to “keep” or “observe” the Sabbath, saying that they “were uttered as one by our Creator.” (Hammer at 21.)

And following the Kabbalat Shabbat service and prior to the Friday evening (Ma'ariv) service, Jews traditionally read rabbinic sources on the observance of the Sabbath, including Genesis Rabbah 11:9. Genesis Rabbah 11:9, in turn, interpreted the commandment of Exodus 20:7 (Ex. 20:8 in the NJPS) to “remember” the Sabbath. (Hammer at 26.)

The Weekly Maqam

In the Weekly Maqam, Sephardi Jews each week base the songs of the services on the content of that week's parshah. For Parshah Yitro, Sephardi Jews apply Maqam Hoseni, the maqam that expresses beauty. This is especially appropriate in this parshah because it is the parshah where the Israelites receive the Ten Commandments.

Further reading

The parshah has parallels or is discussed in these sources:

Biblical

Josephus

Early nonrabbinic

Classical rabbinic

  • Mishnah: Shabbat 5:1–4, 9:3; Nedarim 1:1–11:11; Bava Kamma 5:7; Sanhedrin 7:6; Makkot 1:3; Shevuot 1:1–8:6; Avot 3:6. Land of Israel, circa 200 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, 184, 190, 515, 598, 610, 679. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
  • Tosefta: Maaser Sheni 5:27; Shabbat 1:21; Sukkah 4:3; Megillah 3:5, 24; Sotah 4:1, 7:2; Bava Kamma 3:2–3, 4:6, 6:4, 14, 7:5, 9:7, 17, 20, 22, 26; Sanhedrin 3:2, 4:7, 12:3; Makkot 1:7; Shevuot 3:6, 8; Arakhin 2:10, 5:9. Land of Israel, circa 300 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction. Translated by Jacob Neusner, vol. 1: 330, 360, 579, 645, 650, 844, 860; vol. 2: 962–63, 972, 978, 980, 987, 1001, 1004–06, 1150, 1159, 1185, 1201, 1232–34, 1499, 1514. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
  • Jerusalem Talmud: Berakhot 5a, 12b–13a, 39a, 50b, 87a; Peah 6b; Sheviit 1a, 2a; Bikkurim 23b; Shabbat 1a–; Sukkah 3a, 24a; Nedarim 1a–; Shevuot 1a–. Land of Israel, circa 400 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, vols. 1–3, 6a, 12, 22. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2005–2009.
  • Mekhilta According to Rabbi Ishmael 47:1–57:1. Land of Israel, late 4th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Mekhilta According to Rabbi Ishmael. Translated by Jacob Neusner, 2:37–103. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55540-237-2. And Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael. Translated by Jacob Z. Lauterbach, 2:271–354. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1933, reissued 2004. ISBN 0-8276-0678-8.
  • Mekhilta of Rabbi Simeon 20:3; 26:1; 34:2; 44:1–2; 46:1–57:3; 68:1–2; 74:4, 6; 77:4; 78:4; 82:1. Land of Israel, 5th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai. Translated by W. David Nelson, 83–84, 113, 147, 186, 195–209, 212–58, 305, 347, 349, 359, 364, 372–73. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2006. ISBN 0-8276-0799-7.
Talmud
  • Babylonian Talmud: Berakhot 6a–b, 20b, 33a, 45a, 54a, 57a, 64a, 86a–b, 87b–88a; Shabbat 10a, 33b, 51b, 86b, 88b, 94a, 105a, 114b, 117b, 120a–b, 153a–b; Pesachim 5b, 47b–48a, 54a, 63b, 106a, 117b; Yoma 4a, 86a; Sukkah 5a, 53a; Beitzah 5a–b, 15b; Rosh Hashanah 3a, 24a–b, 27a; Taanit 21b; Megillah 31a; Moed Katan 5a, 7b, 13a, 15a; Chagigah 3b, 6a, 12b–13a, 14a, 18a, 27a; Yevamot 46b, 62a, 79a; Ketubot 103a, 111a; Nedarim 18a, 20a, 38a; Nazir 45a; Sotah 31a, 33a, 38a, 42a; Gittin 57b; Kiddushin 2b, 30a–32a, 76b; Bava Kamma 54b, 74b, 99b; Bava Metzia 5b, 30b, 32a, 61b; Sanhedrin 2b, 7a–b, 10a, 15b–17a, 18a–b, 21b, 34b, 35b, 36b, 45a, 50a, 56b, 59b, 61a–62a, 63a, 67a, 86a–b, 94a, 99a; Makkot 2b, 4a–b, 7b, 8b, 10a, 13b; Shevuot 20b–21a, 29a, 30b–31a, 39a, 47b; Avodah Zarah 2b, 5a, 14b, 42b, 43b, 54a; Horayot 4b, 8a; Zevachim 8a, 19a, 58a, 59a, 61b, 115b–16a; Menachot 5b; Chullin 110b; Arakhin 11a; Temurah 3a–b; Keritot 3b; Niddah 13b, 42a. Babylonia, 6th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, Chaim Malinowitz, and Mordechai Marcus, 72 vols. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.

Medieval

  • Saadia Gaon. The Book of Beliefs and Opinions, Intro. 6; 2:12; 5:4, 6; 6:6; 9:2; 10:11. Baghdad, Babylonia, 933. Translated by Samuel Rosenblatt, 31–32, 128, 130, 219–20, 225–26, 254, 327–28, 385. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1948. ISBN 0-300-04490-9.
Rashi
  • Exodus Rabbah 27:1–29:9. 10th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Exodus. Translated by S. M. Lehrman, vol. 3. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
  • Solomon ibn Gabirol. A Crown for the King, 29:357–58. Spain, 11th Century. Translated by David R. Slavitt, 48–49. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-511962-2.
  • Rashi. Commentary. Exodus 18–20. Troyes, France, late 11th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, 2:205–46. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89906-027-7.
  • Judah Halevi. Kuzari. 1:87–91; 2:4; 3:39; 5:21. Toledo, Spain, 1130–1140. Reprinted in, e.g., Jehuda Halevi. Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel. Intro. by Henry Slonimsky, 60–63, 87, 172, 290. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
  • Zohar 2:67a–94a. Spain, late 13th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., The Zohar. Translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon. 5 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1934.
Hobbes

Modern

  • Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan, 2:20; 3:35, 36, 40, 42; 4:45. England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, 258, 444, 449, 464–65, 501–02, 504, 545–47, 672, 676. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0140431950.
  • Edward Taylor. “18. Meditation. Heb. 13.10. Wee Have an Altar.” In Preliminary Meditations: First Series. Cambridge, Mass.: Early 18th Century. In Harold Bloom. American Religious Poems, 21–22. New York: Library of America, 2006. ISBN 978-1-931082-74-7.
Dickinson
Mann
  • Thomas Mann, Rebecca West, Franz Werfel, John Erskine, Bruno Frank, Jules Romains, André Maurois, Sigrid Undset, Hendrik Willem van Loon, Louis Bromfield, Herman Rauchning. The Ten Commandments: Ten Short Novels of Hitler's War Against the Moral Code. Edited by Armin L. Robinson. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943.
  • Abraham Joshua Heschel. The Sabbath. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1951. Reprinted 2005. ISBN 0-374-52975-2.
  • Morris Adler. The World of the Talmud, 28–29. B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, 1958. Reprinted Kessinger Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0548080003.
  • Martin Buber. On the Bible: Eighteen studies, 80–121. New York: Schocken Books, 1968.
  • W. Gunther Plaut. Shabbat Manual. New York: CCAR, 1972.
  • Harvey Arden. “In Search of Moses.” National Geographic. (Jan. 1976): 2–37.
  • Walter J. Harrelson. The Ten Commandments and Human Rights. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980. ISBN 0-8006-1527-1. Revised ed. Mercer Univ. Press, 1997. ISBN 0865545421.
  • Harvey Arden. “Eternal Sinai.” National Geographic. 161 (4) (Apr. 1982): 420–61.
Agnon
  • David Noel Freedman. “The Nine Commandments: The secret progress of Israel’s sins.” Bible Review. 5 (6) (Dec. 1989).
  • Moshe Weinfeld. “What Makes the Ten Commandments Different?” Bible Review. 7 (2) (Apr. 1991).
  • Pinchas H. Peli. The Jewish Sabbath: A Renewed Encounter. New York: Schocken, 1991. ISBN 0-8052-0998-0.
  • S.Y. Agnon. Present at Sinai: The Giving of the Law. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1994. ISBN 0-8276-0503-X.
  • Elliot N. Dorff. “Artificial Insemination, Egg Donation and Adoption.” New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1994. EH 1:3.1994. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, 461, 483, 506. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4. (duty of the children of artificial insemination to honor their social parents; implications of the duty to honor parents for single parenthood).
  • Elliot N. Dorff. “Jewish Businesses Open on Shabbat and Yom Tov: A Concurring Opinion.” New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1995. OH 242.1995c. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, 64–70. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4.
  • Elliot N. Dorff. “Family Violence.” New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1995. HM 424.1995. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, 773, 786. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4. (implications of the commandment to honor one’s parents for a duty to provide for dependent parents).
  • Marc Gellman. God’s Mailbox: More Stories About Stories in the Bible, 47–67. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1996. ISBN 0-688-13169-7.
  • Mark Dov Shapiro. Gates of Shabbat: A Guide for Observing Shabbat. New York: CCAR Press, 1996. ISBN 0-88123-010-3.
  • Elliot N. Dorff. “Assisted Suicide.” New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1997. YD 345.1997a. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, 379, 380. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4. (implications of God’s ownership of the universe for assisted suicide).
  • Baruch J. Schwartz. “What Really Happened at Mount Sinai? Four biblical answers to one question.” Bible Review. 13 (5) (Oct. 1997).
  • William H.C. Propp. Exodus 1–18, 2:622–35. New York: Anchor Bible, 1998. ISBN 0-385-14804-6.
Steinsaltz
  • Adin Steinsaltz. Simple Words: Thinking About What Really Matters in Life, 49, 182. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. ISBN 068484642X.
  • David Noel Freedman. The Nine Commandments: Uncovering a Hidden Pattern of Crime and Punishment in the Hebrew Bible. New York: Doubleday, 2000. ISBN 0-385-49986-8.
  • Elie Kaplan Spitz. “Mamzerut.” New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2000. EH 4.2000a. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, 558, 562–63, 566. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4. (implications of the prohibition of adultery and God’s remembering wrongdoing until the third or fourth generation for the law of the mamzer).
  • Joseph Telushkin. The Ten Commandments of Character: Essential Advice for Living an Honorable, Ethical, Honest Life, 52–59, 61–65, 76–80, 129–32, 177–80, 189–90, 204–06, 275–78. New York: Bell Tower, 2003. ISBN 1-4000-4509-6.
  • William H.C. Propp. Exodus 19–40, 2A:101–85. New York: Anchor Bible, 2006. ISBN 0-385-24693-5.

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