Rashi on 20 (1) says

all these words: [This] teaches [us] that the Holy One, blessed be He, said the Ten Commandments in one utterance, something that is impossible for a human being to say [in a similar way]. If so, why does the Torah say again, “I am [the Lord, your God (verse 2)]” and “You shall have no…” (verse 3)? Because He later explained each statement [of the Ten Commandments] individually. —

The first two commandments were said by Hashem directly to the people; for the rest, Moshe relayed them. (Makkos 24a). The first two commandments use the word “I” which does not appear in the others.

Were there any differences in the the language of the last eight of the Ten Commandments

1] between what Moshe was told and what he relayed to the Jewish people?

2] between what Hashem said in one utterance and what He later explained?

For example, 20 (7) reads,

“You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain, for the Lord will not hold blameless anyone who takes His name in vain.”

Was Moshe told a version that said something like:

“You shall not take My name, in vain ...”?

Related: What did the Jews hear at Sinai?

If this question is shown to be epikorsus, I will gladly close it.

  • 3
    What about this question could possibly be epikorsus? All it is is an excellent Parsha question. Jan 30, 2018 at 16:44
  • 1
    Very interesting question +1
    – user6591
    Jan 30, 2018 at 17:11
  • For clarification - are you specifically more curious about the final 8 dibros than you are about anywhere else in the Torah where Moshe refers to Hashem in 3rd person while speaking to the Jewish people? And if so, why? Jan 30, 2018 at 18:45
  • Yes - more curious about the final 8 dibros. Because normally the commands of Hashem are communicated after the word לאמר which indicates that Moshe has to say over those words to the people. Before the 10 commandments the word לאמר does not have this meaning - see Rashi to 30 (1). Jan 30, 2018 at 20:12
  • Sorry, another clarification question - do you mean to ask if Moshe heard one thing but wrote down something else, or if Hashem said it one way but instructed Moshe to record it in another way, or both/either? (And if you respond, please @ping me! Thanks!) Jan 30, 2018 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


I'm pretty sure Rashi comments pretty clearly on the verse "...and Hashem answered in a voice" as saying that Moshe would speak, and Hashem would simply make his voice louder, so there doesn't seem to be any mention of an in-between communication of the 10 commandments, especially since on the luchos the 10 commandments were written (as they were said at Mt. Sinai (presumably)) (Rashi [insert source here, somewhere in Sefer Shemos]), and there's many drushu's about the 10 commandments having 620 letters to alude to the 613 commandments and 7 noahide commandments (see baal haturim) etc. so it seems like there was no other version (except the 2nd time the 10 commandments are mentioned in Devarim with several changes, maybe that says something regarding an untold 3rd version that was only said to Moshe, but if there really was a 3rd version it would probably be pretty well known in the commentaries)


It seems that my question is answered here in INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF, prepared by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim.

OPINIONS: Rebbi Yishmael states that the Jewish people at Sinai heard the first two commandments of the Aseres ha'Dibros ("Anochi Hash-m" and "Lo Yiheyeh Lecha") directly from Hash-m. Does this imply that they did not hear the other eight commandments from Hash-m, but from Moshe Rabeinu?

(a) The RAMBAM in MOREH NEVUCHIM (2:33) writes that this indeed is correct. He explains that even though the first two commandments were heard directly from Hash-m, the Jewish people did not understand the words; they could not comprehend where one word ended and the next began. Moshe Rabeinu clarified this for them. The Rambam explains that this is why the Torah repeatedly refers to the "Kol" ("sound" or "voice") that the Jewish people heard (see Devarim 4:12 and 5:19-20). They heard only the sound of the letters of the words, and they could not clearly discern the words until Moshe Rabeinu helped them. They did not hear the last eight commandments directly from Hash-m, but rather Moshe Rabeinu related them to the Jewish people as he heard them from Hash-m. (See RABEINU BACHYE to Shemos 20:1.)

(b) The RAMBAN (to Shemos 20:7) argues that the Jewish people definitely heard all ten of the Aseres ha'Dibros directly from Hash-m. He explains that the intention of Rebbi Yishmael is that the only commandments that the Jewish people heard and understood on the same level as Moshe Rabeinu were the first two. The rest of the commandments were also heard by the Jewish people directly from Hash-m, but they did not understand what they heard until Moshe Rabeinu explained it to them.

The Ramban explains that this is the meaning of the verse, "Moshe Yedaber, veha'Elokim Ya'anenu v'Kol" (Shemos 19:19). The verse is saying that Hash-m will be made to be heard by Moshe's explanation of the last eight commandments that they heard from Hash-m but did not understand.

(c) The BE'ER SHEVA quotes the MA'ASEI HASH-M who gives a different explanation. He says that the method of communication of Hash-m at Sinai was similar to that of a powerful and awesome king who gives orders to his servant. If he says all of his orders directly to his servant, then the servant will be very frightened. However, if the king gives the orders to a different party and intentionally lets the servant overhear the orders being given, this would be much less frightening. Similarly, after Hash-m said the first two Dibros directly to the Jewish people and they consequently became very frightened, Hash-m decided that in order to make the experience bearable for them He would say the rest of the Dibros as if He was speaking only to Moshe. The Jewish people heard but were not as frightened, and they understood all of the Aseres ha'Dibros clearly, with no need for explication. The difference was merely that the first two Dibros were said directly to them, while the rest of the Dibros were said directly to Moshe and overheard by them. (See also TORAH TEMIMAH to Shemos 20:2.) (Y. MONTROSE)

According to all views,then, there was only one version and no differences in the language of the last eight of the Ten Commandments.

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