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    Two versions of the Commandments – Va’et’channan

    10 ten commandments luchot tablets da lifneiThis Shabbat we read the second version of the Ten Commandments.

    The first version is in Parashat Yitro and is better known. Certain words are different in this week’s version.

    For example, in the tenth commandment, dealing with not coveting, the original verb is tachmod (“desire”) where the second version has tit’avveh (“crave”).

    In one sense the two verbs are the same: they both tell us there is no problem in being ambitious and wanting things – the problem comes when it is at someone else’s expense.

    One of the differences is that coveting takes place in your heart: you should not desperately feel you want that which is your neighbour’s. Craving goes one step further and involves your actions.

    Example: Micah 2:1-2 which says, “Woe to them that plot iniquity… They covet fields, and seize them”. Seizing what isn’t yours is a grave and indeed criminal sin. It is a serious moral offence even to covet it.

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