Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Shavuot and the Manual for Life

Today is the second day of Shavuot, the Jewish holiday that commemorates, the day God gave us the Ten Commandments and the Torah. Shavuot is one of the three major festivals (the other two being Passover and Sukkot). In biblical times, Jews would travel from all over the Mediterranean to Jerusalem to make sacrifices at the Temple during these three festivals. Historically, Shavuot commemorates God’s encounter with Moses on Mount Sinai, when he gave the Torah to his people Israel.

Here is a list of the 10 Commandments that God gave to Moses and Israel and through them to the rest of humanity for all time. These stipulations are the “blueprints” for how God designed life to work. As the “engineer” he has wired into our being these standards. I may be “free” to pour sand in my car’s gas tank, but the manual drafted by the engineers who designed the car warns against it. In the same way we are “free” to disobey these commands, but we are not in the end “free.” We don’t break the 10 Commands; breaking them breaks us!


“God, give us strength to keep your Law!”

Commandment 1

“You are to have no other gods before me.”

Commandment 2

“You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline. You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, ADONAI your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my commands.”


Commandment 3

“You are not to use lightly the name of ADONAI your God, because ADONAI will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.”

Commandment 4

“Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work -not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. For in six days, ADONAI made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why ADONAI blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.”


Commandment 5

“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which ADONAI your God is giving you.”

Commandment 6

“Do not murder.”

Commandment 7


“Do not commit adultery.”

Commandment 8

“Do not steal.”

Commandment 9

“Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.”

Commandment 10


“Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


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