Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Ten Very Strong Suggestions?

Well, for those who are members of the Jewish faith, the holiday of Shavuot (respectively pronounced as Shu-VOO-oht or Shu-VOO-ohs, in the Sephardic and Ashkenazi tongues) was held on Friday and today. In Israel, like many holidays held in the Holy Land, only one day is used to recall the date. The holiday commemorates the giving of the Law or what most scholars think of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. This is the day that Jewish scholars state the Jewish people was formed as a nation. It's interesting because already they had been an enslaved people in Egypt and had fled during the period of the Exodus. Torah is used to describe all of the learning in the Jewish universe, but is most often used to describe the Chumash (Chuh-MISH), the Torah scroll that contains the Five Books of Moses. The cornerstone of the Hebrew Bible began with the Ten Commandments, but it would seem that many of those who view them would prefer they not be nearly so strict. My title to today's blog may seem silly, but it is true that many of us are guilty of ignoring or not complying fully with the letter and spirit of these laws. Okay, so not many of us are guilty of murdering on a daily basis, but many of our brave soldiers in the field must do so in order to stay alive. We may not be committing adultery by looking at magazines or viewing so-called adult sites, but it is a very fine line between lusting for an attractive sexual partner and actually committing the act. Most men see viewing porn as harmless. Most women don't agree, noting that much of what is out there is demeaning to women. Women draw the line especially when it comes to chat rooms where boyfriends and husbands have been known to openly lie to those they meet online. Men are a more visually attractable species than women. They need visual cues in order to be stimulated. Women are more complex and respond to other stimuli. But the differences are enough that even Bill Clinton could claim that sexual intercourse could only be defined by one specific act of coitus and definitely not one involving a cigar! Of course, the Ten Commandments prohibit adultery, which specifically prohibits sexual contact outside of a marriage, not procreation. On another front, how many of us are guilty of stealing? When you downloaded that picture from the Internet the other day, weren't you guilty of stealing someone else's proprietary work? The fact is most of us steal with computers without knowing it. The very basic way that browsers like Internet Explorer or Firefox work is to keep temporary Internet files in folders that periodically need to be deleted. So without intending to steal images, your computer is doing so every day. Bearing false witness is a specific crime that needs to be witnessed, but many of us are guilty of the sin of Loshon Hora or gossip mongering about adversaries or even about friends and family. Shouldn't we be considerate of those whose reputation we besmirch without any hesitation? Many of us try to honor our parents, but do we do everything we should and maintain the kind of reverence we should in light of their diminishing years? Probably not. As to Sabbath worship, how many of us skip services of whatever religious background, opting to make the day of rest a day of watching football or baseball? I know I'm guilty of many of these and I hope that I may get myself straightened out in time before the Judgment Day, whenever that may be. I take little solace in knowing that I am hardly alone.

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