Generally, each of the Ten Commandments is written in its own paragraph in the Torah, except for the 1st two. Shmot (Ex.) 20:2 is the 1st commandmnet - "I am G-d" and the 2nd commandment is from Shmot (Ex.) 20:3-6). These two commandments are written in a single paragraph.

Additionally, there is a special form of Torah trope known as "ta'am elyon" which is customarily used when reading the 10 commandments in shul. This format treats all the verses that comprise one commandment as if it were a single verse, rather than the way it is "divided" as separate verses. (Yes, I am aware that the concept of psukim - verses is only possible by knowing the trope. In viewing the written Torah scroll, one would not know this.)

So, my question is that based on both the written format as well as the trope usage - whether ta'am elyon or tachton, how did chaza"l derive two separate commandments from this single paragraph?

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    From where do you know that you can only derive one commandment per paragraph? May 29, 2014 at 20:11
  • Are you bothered by the two commandments in Devarim 14:21 contained in a single verse? May 29, 2014 at 20:14
  • @YEZ - I know about the possibilities that you mentioned. I figure that 10 commandments are an exception to the other mitzvot. As I asaid, the special trope )elyon) is plainly obvious to denote that it ignores the standard verse breakdown but groups a whole parsha as a single unit ... almost. The 2 "Lo Tachmod" at the end are grouped together even though they are separate paragraphs. But, there, they are considered part of the same commandment. That fact, also proves part of my premise is correct - one commandment per paragraph (or, in this case, 2 paragraphs.)
    – DanF
    May 29, 2014 at 21:10
  • I'm not sure why the fact that it happens to be one commandment per paragraph says that it is a rule. Just because here it is a different trop, does that mean that you should interpret the pesukim backwards or maybe in these pesukim every lamed is meant to be read as a gimmel. Why does that difference lead to your premise? And Lo Tachmod proves that it is not splitting by paragraph, otherwise it messed up the pattern by spreading Lo Tachmod between multiple paragraphs. May 29, 2014 at 23:36
  • @yEz Maybe there is a sense in which lo tachmod is two commandments? The fact that taam elyon, taam tachton and the paragraphs lead to three separate sets of 10 is hopefully an intentional part of God's writing.
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2015 at 19:46


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