28 Jan Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Yitro 5776
This Shababt we read from Parashat Yitro, which includes the experience of revelation at Mt. Sinai as well as the Ten Commandments. When we think of the Ten Commandments, we often think of the physical depiction of them inscribed on the two tablets brought down by Moshe from Mt. Sinai. That image leads us to naturally divide them into two halves, the first five on the first tablet and the second five on the other. Yet, we might also think to divide them into two categories – what are called in Hebrew mitzvot bein adam lamakom, commandments that are between a person and God, and mitzvot bein adam lachaveiro, commandments that are between a person and their fellow human being. Both types are included in the Ten Commandments indicating that both relationships are of paramount importance in our lives. Ultimately, there is no such thing as a relationship outside of religion because our tradition teaches us to use Jewish values in our actions with all people. That message is clear from the very moment of revelation as God commands the Israelites not only about how to act with God but about how to act with other people.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik