When Do We Hear the Aseret Hadibberot? Originally published January 18-19, 2019.

The Aseret Hadibberot (עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת), the Ten Pronouncements (colloquially, the “Ten Commandments” or, from the Greek translation of the Hebrew, the “Decalogue”), appear next week in Exodus Chapter 20, in Parashat Yitro.  And as Am Yisrael stood at the base of Mount Sinai, so we also stand to hear the  Aseret Hadibberot chanted as a part of the Torah reading. 

Some interpret that Moses delivered the words as God spoke them, and other opine that Moses and God discussed the words in front of the people.  The pronouncements were inscribed on both sides of two stone tablets (signed in duplicate? the first carbon copy?), which were then kept in the Ark of the Covenant.  This describes exactly the way the pronouncements became an agreement between God and humans especially in these specific matters of clear moral right and wrong, which would be augmented by all the additional rules set forth for us under the more full covenant of the Law.