Originally Posted March 12, 2021
It was the mid 1950”s and we had just moved back to St. Louis after my father’s death; we lived in a 3rdstory apartment that was owned by a Jewish family. They adhered to the Jewish tradition of placing a “mezuzah” on the doorpost of each apartment. “The mezuzah (the Hebrew word for “doorpost”) is a small piece of parchment usually containing this line from Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
I did not know what the mezuzah was and in an act of “defending my Catholicism from strange gods”, I took it down. I still regret this immature act and the pain it may have caused our devout Jewish landlords. While I’ve known and worked with many Jews over the years, I’ve never had any real conversations with “devout Jews”, who were serious about their faith. In truth we have a lot in common.
I heard in a sermon today that the Jews had 106 commandments by the time of Jesus. “The most well-known of these laws were the Ten Commandments , but the Torah contained a total of 613 commandments or mitzvah covering many aspects of daily life, including family, personal hygiene and diet.” Wow, that’s a lot to remember, much less follow…. although I understand that many are now obsolete.
Over the years, I’ve heard complaints about the 10 commandments… “I don’t follow them…it’s always “don’t do this, don’t do that …. I’m tired of all that …. I just follow my own inner guide…. bla,bla,bla.” I remember a good friend years ago saying how would you like to live in a society or neighborhood where the 10 commandments weren’t believed or followed…. living with people whose norm is to blaspheme God, steal from you, lie to you, cheat you, dishonor their parents, commit adultery, etc. Wow, talk about a “hellish society”. The point is that God gave us these commandments to help us be happy…to help us live in peace and joy, not to make us miserable.
In every way that God has dealt with mankind, his purpose has always been love. He loves us. If we follow his direction, we will be happy…. now and forever. Thank God for loving us and teaching us and saving us. Thank you for the “10 Great Commandments”. May we live by them every day of our life.