I can’t believe it! It’s not one of the 7 signs, but I never thought I’d live to see the day when one could see an ad for their purchase!
Both times I visited the Holy Land I hoped, and, even more than hoped, expected to find them for sale by the gadjillions, along with the olive-wood Holy Family Christmas Ornaments, Dead Sea Mud Masks, and Cana Wine.
However, never did I find them on the shelf of one souvenir store. NEVER!! In fact, it became my go-to line when a local Holy Land shopkeeper was hovering over me, giving the hard-sell for me to buy something, anything from their store.
“Do you by chance have 10 Commandment Salt & Pepper Shakers?” I’d ask.
Stunned silence. Then they’d step away as if I was a space alien.
But - amazing but true - according to Amazon.com now there is such a thing, and available for purchase!! What better way to make a house a home!!!
These salt and pepper shakers, in the humble opinion of The Comic Lens, are the perfect size, the right practicality and in the perfect spirit of light-heartedness for the faithful follower who wants a replica of the Bible’s renowned Decalogue for their abode (or State Capital).
The 10 Commandments are “travel-size” laws. Intended originally for the Hebrews’ wilderness journey to the Promised Land. Like the unleavened bread, the daily (but only daily) supply of manna, and tabernacle, they were intentionally small, lightweight, and super-easy to pack.
That’s because they were intended to be carried on our fingers. One for each digit.
I made up a handy way of remembering each one. it’s probably not the same as the ancients’ used, but I’m guessing was/is similar. Handy! (ha ha!)
Left Thumb: #1 — Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. On a fully opposable thumb, THE thing in our anatomy that differentiates and sets us and our primate cousins ahead of all other creatures, is a command for Monotheism. The thing that set the Hebrews (and their subsequent cousins) apart from all other religions. And, is the commandment set apart from all the others - follow this one and the rest, like our fingers, are super flexible and easy to maneuver!
Left Index Finger: #2 — No idols. This finger we use to communicate “#1!” We want to remember to make God Number 1 and not us nor anyone or anything else. (Even as it’s really fun to put on our Cubs #1 foam finger….)
Left Middle Finger: #3 — Do not take Lord’s name in vain. Fairly - er, super - self-explanatory.
Left Ring Finger: #4 — Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. In the Jewish tradition, spending one day a week in quality time with God was often described as wondrous as a sexual union between husband and wife. (Hence the welcoming of the “Sabbath Bride” every Friday night.)
Left Pinkie Finger: #5 — Honor your mother and father. This commandment is about honoring your parents when they can no longer provide for the tribe like they once did. It’s about caring for your elders when they are weak and shriveled in every way, ie small. Honor them, raise them up and increase them in your estimation no matter what.
Right Pinkie Finger: #6 — You shall not murder. This was a prohibition of one-on-one killing and not deaths inflicted in war; hence “smaller killings”. (Also, this is the digit that the Mafia use to place their signature ring….)
Right Third Finger: #7 — You shall not commit adultery. Another ring finger with a command referring to the holy marriage bound.
Right Middle Finger: #8 — You shall not steal. Taking something that another possesses means our stash gets bigger and another gets smaller. Such re-equilibration of the community pie by our own will and self-justification, rather than letting God handle the matter, is forbidden (akin to taking God’s name in vain).
Right Index Finger: #9 — You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not lie. So often when we point at someone, three fingers point back at us. Be super careful about the why’s and wherefore’s of making our neighbor look bad.
Right Thumb: #10: - You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; your neighbor’s wife, manservant, maidservant, ox, donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. It’s rather insulting to have one’s wife lumped into the same “don’t” commandment as one’s donkey, but that only contributes to the mnemonic power of this commandment. There are all sorts of things (and people) that cause us to be jealous. And all of its is off limit. Be grateful for what you have, and stop there. And move on. And if you can’t, chances are there’s something wrong with your soul and relationship with God, so return to focus on #1.
Sure, there are all sorts of ordinances that God doles out to Moses following the gift of the Big 10. And, I would argue, it’s all these more specific and more complicated rules, intended for life once established in a particular place, that got the Israelites in trouble as they strove to follow them properly and to the "T". Seems this created a bad dance and, for any number of reasons, got them thrown off their Promised Land once more.
What the Israelites (and we) really need are the road rules, and just the road rules. Sleek, simple, even singable!
And just think about it…. With only 10 things we’re to do or not do, that leaves a road trip with hundred-gajillion+ fantastic other activities to choose!!