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    We’re too clever

    The Ten Commandments figure in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, they are emblazoned on the synagogue wall or above the Ark, and everybody thinks they are important ­ but hardly anybody takes them too seriously any more.

    No. We’re too clever for that.

    This is what we clever people say:

    “I am the Lord your God” ­- but whoever invented God had a problem that we don’t. He (or she) did not known how to explain life and the world, so they needed a genie and they called it God.

    “Have no other gods before Me” ­- God, you want a monopoly? But monopolies are not a good thing and we need a range of options.

    “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain” – why not? People do it all the time ­ they talk of “acts of God” and no one seems to mind.

    “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” -­ who can cope with this “holy” business? It’s too restrictive. How can I be myself if I can’t do this and I can’t do that and I have to spend the whole morning in Shule?

    “Honour your father and mother” ­- all right, they’re nice people but their ideas are so outdated that they have no credibility any more.

    “Do not murder” -­ really? Some people are so hard to live with, and their colour (or ethnicity or religion or other things) are so different: we’d be better off without them.

    “Do not commit adultery” -­ don’t be so straitlaced! Who wants to commit so narrowly any more when there’s other talent available?

    “Do not steal” -­ what do you mean? They all do it, the tax cheats, the commuters that don’t buy a ticket, the plagiarists that use other people’s intellectual property, and they get away with it.

    “Do not bear false witness” -­ hold on! Telling the truth doesn’t always get you anywhere and what they don’t know doesn’t hurt.

    “Do not covet” -­ what? Be a stick-in-the-mud without ambition or the dream of bettering myself? Why shouldn’t I have what my neighbour has?

    … The Ten Commandments are in trouble. We have to admit it. But the funny thing is that the world doesn’t seem to be a happier or safer place.

    Maybe we should try again.

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