Today's question for your table is something that I know has been bothering you for a long time.
You've probably laid awake at night wondering this.
Maybe you've googled it a few times. Google doesn't know.
Psychologists have discovered that we're wired for the number 7.
But for some reason when listing the "top" of any category, we love 10.
Why is this?
Similarly, when we do a countdown, it's always from ten; we never start at nine or eleven.
Why do weight-lifters do sets of ten?
[pause for discussion around your table]
So here's an experiment I've done numerous times.
Practically everyone in the world has heard of the Ten Commandments.
Some people (anyone at your table?) can actually name them.
There are even a few who can name them in order.
Even some who saw the movie.
Here's the problem - when you look at the text of the Torah - in any language - is it clear that there are exactly ten?
Try it yourself. Here's the text - print it out and pass it around the table - don't tell everyone there are ten - just ask them, how many commandments are there?
(Exodus Ch. 20:1-14)
1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 I am the Lord your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for you any engraved image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy to thousands of those who love me, and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and made it holy. 12 Honor your father and your mother; that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you. 13 You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 14 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s.
And what's even more interesting is that although we seem to agree that there are supposed to be ten, others count them differently than we do.
Now I'm assuming by now I've convinced you that there could easily be eleven or twelve commandments on that list.
So here's the question:
Does that sit OK with you - "The 12 Commandments" - ??
If not, why not?
And finally - aren't there supposed to be 613 commandments? (proof that we're not addicted to round numbers?)
So what's up with these ten?
Let me know what you and your table-mates come up with, would you please?
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