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    The 11th commandment

    Readers of a London Jewish youth paper were once asked to formulate an 11th commandment.

    I do not remember all the answers; in particular I cannot recall whether anyone offered the usual suggestion, “You shall not get found out”.

    But about my own answer (I was then a professional youth worker) I am certain. It was, “You shall take notice of the first ten!”

    What does the Torah itself say? Is its view the fact that the 11th of the 613 commandments is not to have leaven in our houses on Pesach?

    Or do we regard as commandment 11 the law coming straight after the Decalogue that we must not make a representation of the form of any human being (derived by the rabbis from Ex. 20:23)?

    The Torah nowhere speaks of an 11th commandment in this sense.

    But yet the moment human beings focus too much on man, dethrone God and say with Swinburne, “Man is the master of things”, we become supreme egotists; and “pride goes before destruction: a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18).

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