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    Uniqueness – the first word

    The first word of the Ten Commandments is Anochi, “I”.

    God says, “I am HaShem your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of bondage” (Ex. 20:2; there is another version in Deut. 5:6).

    It tells us several things about God:
    • He exists – His name means “the One who is”.
    • He is caring – He redeemed us from bondage.
    • He is unique – He and no-one else is the foundation of our lives.

    This verse has to be read in conjunction with the Shema (“HaShem is our God, HaShem is unique” – Deut. 6:4). There is a reciprocal relationship. In the Decalogue, God announces Himself; in the Shema we acclaim Him.

    People have always wanted more details about Him. Today is no different. When you tell someone else that you believe in God, you are likely to be met with the response, “’God’? What are you talking about? What do you mean by ‘God’?”

    Someone once told me that the hard thing was to say, “I believe in a god”, but I don’t think that is hard at all. People have and always have had many gods, things or thoughts they looked up to and served. For some people money is their god, for some it is power.

    The really hard thing is to say “I believe in the (not ‘a’) God”, because He can’t be fitted into some definitional pigeon-hole and spelt out.

    He Himself says, “I am what I am” (Ex. 3:14). It is His uniqueness that is meant when we say He is One.

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