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Looking at the words: "Anochi HaShem Eloheichem - אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ " (Shemot 20:2 & 20:5, Devarim 5:6 & 5:9)" I noticed that on the one hand HaShem emphasizes that we should serve Him while on the other hand using the exact same words HaShem emphasizes that one cannot serve others ( כִּי אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵל קַנָּא). This reminded me of two great teachings:

And G-d said to Moshe: “Hew for yourself (Psal Lecha) two tablets of stone", (Exodus 34:1). And "Do not make for yourself a hewn image (lecha pesel)", Exodus 20:4.

I can't remember the source but I once heard that: the key to understand the difference if on where we place the word 'lecha (yourself)'. Because in the first occassion, in the oreder of the sentence, the carving comes first, and 'yourself' is secondary. While in the commandment against idolatry, on the other hand, 'yourself' comes first, and the carving is secondary. The difference is that in one occassion we make our ego secondary to our service. While in the second occassion we place our ego first and let us create our own image on how to live.

Likewise there is this drash on Devarim 5:5 where the words: “I (Anochi) stand between HaShem and between you...” are taken to mean that our (Anochiyus) I-ness, ego, self-centeredness, is the screen that separates between human and the Divine. It is 'anochi' – egotism – that separates us from G-d.

So first of all I'm looking for the sources of these ideas, secondly I would like to know if there are any good commentaries which dig more into these ideas (and specifically connect these concepts with idolatry)?

So are there any commentaries which link our ego/I-ness/self-awereness/self-centeredness with idolatry?

P.s. I also noticed both in the Aseret HaDevarim as in Vayikra 19:4 the prohibition regards idols is not to make them for 'ourself' (i.e. yourself and yourselves). Why did the Torah stresses it that way? Why not only state don't make... why the addition of the words 'for yourself'? Is there a deeper meaning/understanding in these words?

  • This one is the Baal Shem Tov: " our (Anochiyus) I-ness, ego, self-centeredness, is the screen that separates between human and the Divine. It is 'anochi' – egotism – that separates us from G-d." – shmu Jan 30 at 18:57

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