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Paradigm Shifts

Parshas Mishpatim Klal Yisroel has just witnessed mass revelation of Hakadosh Boruch Hu at Har Sinai. There they received the Aseres Hadibros. The commentaries explain that these ten commandments go much deeper than just the superficial listing of important fundamentals for Judaism. They represent the entirety and profundity of the Torah in its purest form. One way we can dissect the Aseres Hadibros, is by splitting it up into two sets of five; the first side of the Luchos and the second. The order, for reference sake, is as follows: 1) Anochi Hashem, 2) Lo Yihiyeh Lecha - No Avodah Zara 3) Lo Sisa - Do not disgrace Hashem's Holy name. 4) Zachor es Yom Hashabbos - Observe Shabbos 5) Kabed es Avicha ves Imecha - Honor your Father & Mother 6) Lo Tirtzach - Don't murder 7) Lo Tinaf - Don't commit adultery 8) Lo Signov - Don't steal 9) Lo Sa'aneh - Don't give false testimony 10) Lo Sachmod - Don't covet If we study the order more carefully, we can understand that the first set of five represent Mitzvos bein Adam L'Makom, between a man and His Creator, whereas the second set of Mitzvos represent Bein Adam L'Chaveiro. However, you closer examination, we can see there is an additional structure hidden even within that. In the first five, there is an additional contrasting element that we can pick up on. The first five start off with commandments that dwell in Machshava (thought), then move into Dibur (speech), and then finally into Ma'aseh (action). The first two (I am Hashem your G-d, and not worshipping Avodah Zara) represent commandments that dwell in the realm of thought and belief. The third commandment represents our power of speech and being careful what we say (Not to swear in vain or use Hashem's name disgracefully). Finally, the last two of the Bein Adam L'Makom commandments represent action, or Ma'aseh - Observing Shabbos and honoring our parents. Yet, the next five of the Aseres HaDibros which symbolize Bein Adam L'Chaveiro run the exact opposite course. They begin in the realm of Ma'aseh (action), moving to Dibur & Machshavah after. They begin with Ma'aseh: not murdering, committing adultery, or stealing. Then they move into the realm of Dibur - Not to give false testimony. Finally, it ends in the sphere of Machshava - not coveting what your friend or neighbor has, which includes refraining from even thinking about how you wish you had what that person has. Why this dichotomy in the structure? I heard from my Rebbeim the following answer. When it comes to the realm of mitzvos that encompass our relationship with our Creator, Bein Adam L'Makom, we have a tendency to think that our beliefs are enough. As long as we believe in Hashem in our heart, we have fulfilled our duties. However, the opposite is true. We see this from the structural division of the commandments. We must begin in the realm of Machshava, and only then slowly but surely move into Dibur, finally resulting in Maaseh. The transition allows this understanding that we believe in Hashem and care about our Yiddishkeit... But it cannot end there. It must move forward and pour forth into the way we speak and think. The opposite perspective is true when it comes to mitzvos bein Adam L'Chaveiro. We have a tendency to think that it's enough just to externally or superficially be good to our friends. As long as we can get along nicely with our neighbors on the outside, we're golden - although in our minds our hatred and jealousy for this person grows stronger. The structure of the next five Bein Adam L'Chaveiro commandments begins with Ma'aseh, and only then moves on into Dibur and ends with Machshava. The reason for this is because for us to properly appreciate Bein Adam L'Chaveiro we can't allow our fulfillment of this level of mitzvos remain superficial, only residing in our surface-level actions with our friends. It must dig into our depths, both in how we speak, and perhaps more importantly, in how we internally think of our friends and neighbors. We can't act friendly on the outside, and inside breed hatred. Hashem wants our fulfillment of all levels of our mitzvos to be profound and deep, residing in our hearts, minds, mouths, and actions. May we all merit to understand and cherish this dichotomy of mitzvos and utilize it to come even closer to Hashem. Good Shabbos

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