Torah Minute: “Divine Graphic Design”

By Rabbi Moshe Katz

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The Aseres Hadibros.  Ten Commandments.
There were two tablets.
The First One?
Obligations between “man and G-d”
What we might call “religious laws”.
Belief in G-d. Not worshiping idols. Not using G-d’s name in vain.
Shabbos. And honoring parents.
The second tablet?
Obligations between “man and man.”
What we would call, “moral or ethical laws”.
Murder. Adultery. Stealing. False testimony. Envy.
(These are all don’ts!)
… If you look at a text of the Ten Commandments?
The first five have a lot of text. There’s elaboration.
Take Shabbos, for example. It explains why we need to observe it.
“Because G-d created the world in six days…”
But the second five?
Short and to the point!
Why?
There’s an amazing suggestion in Jewish tradition.
It has to do with marketing. With graphic design.
What’s the best way to get someone’s attention?
Short. And to the point.
And leave lots of white space on the page!
… The first five Commandments were revolutionary.
But it’s G-d making “religious” demands.
Once you get the Jewish idea of G-d, it’s pretty obvious.
G-d wants us to believe in Him. And not worship other gods.
And set aside a day to connect to Him.
But the last five?
Talk about a revolution in the ancient world!
That G-d cares about how we deal with other people?
What does that have to do with “religion”?
What does that have to do with G-d?
The Jewish answer? Everything.
Because every human being is created in G-d’s Image.
And we can’t respect G-d if we don’t respect other people.
… So G-d wanted to make it clear for all times.
“Don’t ever think it’s enough to keep your obligations to Me!
As important as those obligations are.
Because I also care about how you deal with My children!
Just take a look at the second Tablet.
Boom. Boom. Boom!
Short. To the point.
With plenty of white on the Tablet!”

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