“The Ten Commandments”- Mystical Meaning

In a previous study session we learned that “The Ten Commandments” are not actually called “Commandments” in the Hebrew language of the Torah.

They are called Aseret Hadibrot The Ten Utterances and Aseret HadevarimThe Ten Words or Ten Things. (Devarim means both words and things in Hebrew).

In the Hebrew they are not the “Ten Commandments” as the word mitzvot is not used in this context. The term “Ten Commandments” came from the Greek translation of the Torah.

Rabbi Edward L. Nydle / B’nai Avraham

Contrary to popular misconception, the Torah never refers to these ten things as the ‘The Ten Commandments,’ which would have been ‘Aseret Ha-Mitzvot.’ Invariably, they are called the ‘Ten Words or ‘Ten Utterances’ The term ‘Aseret HaDiBRot’ (or Aseret HaDeVaRim), frequently translated as the ‘Ten Commandments,’ is a usage that has absolutely no basis in the Torah or in later traditional literature.

Rav Michael Hattin, Yeshivat Har Etzion, Israel

In Kabbalah, The Ten Utterances and The Ten Sefirot on the Tree of Life (Etz Chayim) have an interconnected life, which is alive with new meaning!

In Kabbalah, GD is called Ein Sof, meaning Without End.

There is no end to the Divine. The Divine is not static — the Divine is Endless. The word Ein mean “none” or “without.”

Mystical Meaning of the Big Ten in Kabbalah/Jewish Mysticism:

1. I Am the Lord, your GD. Thou shall have no other GDs before Me — Sefirah Keter (Crown): The key words are “I Am” as GD’s descriptor. I AM everythingness. I am nothingness. I Am every-thing. I Am no-thing. I Am animate. I Am inanimate. I Am the sacred. I Am the mundane. I Am the Crown, the Zenith, the Summit, the Universal Life Force. I Am the Divine Oneness. Do not worship that which is not of Me and connected to Me.

2. Thou shall not make unto yourself a graven image and have any other gods before me — Sefirah Chochma (Wisdom): Do not mistake your illusions and delusions of grandeur as GD/Divinity. In accurate Hebrew translation it doesn’t say “before me” it says “al-panai,” which literally means “on my face” as in “Do not put any other gods on my face.” Do not turn your ego into a false god. Do not tout your religious tenets hypocritically, for that is idolatry.

3.Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy GD in vain —Sefirah Binah (Intuition/Understanding): Do not misuse prayer, the name of GD or your knowledge of scriptures to persecute, embarrass or demean another. Communication is a Divine gift. To use it without Intuitive Understanding leads to desecration of GD’s name.

4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy — Sefirah Chesed (Loving-Kindness): Honor your need for spiritual rejuvenation, nourishment and nurturing. Loving-kindness towards yourself and others personifies the holy spirit of Shabbat.

5. Honor thy father and mother — Sefirah Gevurah (Strength): Give strength to all things that sustain you and enrich your life. (Water, animals, people, trees, plants, the eco-system, mother earth, the cosmic Mother and Father). Gevurah is not just strength, it is strength infused with Din (good judgment). Strengthen and honor your bond to all the life-sustaining elements, guided by good judgment.

6. Thou shall not murder — Sefirah Tiferet (Beauty): Do not kill animals for sport and do not kill a person emotionally and spiritually with ugliness of speech and behavior. Surround yourself with spiritual beauty and people who share beautiful, life-giving values. Cruelty and indifference are poisons equivalent to murder.

7. Thou shall not commit adultery — Sefirah Netzach (Victory): Do not allow your evil inclinations, or that of others, to adulterate your spiritual self. To “adulterate” means to debase, spoil or contaminate. Do not adulterate environments or relationships. The victorious soul overcomes toxic influences and inclinations.

8. Thou shall not steal — Sefirah Hod (Splendor): Do not misuse your knowledge or intellectual abilities to steal from another. Do not steal another person’s dignity or splendor (moment to shine). Do not steal another’s honor and do not steal anything which rightfully belongs to another.

9. Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor — Sefirah Yesod (Foundation): Do not deceive others or aggrandize yourself by putting another down and destroying their foundation. Deceptive, manipulative and duplicitous words destroy foundations. Be a builder of foundations, not a destroyer.

10. Do Not Covet — Sefirah Malchut (Kingdom): Honor the Kingdom (Sovereignty) that is unique to you. Do not covet that which does not belong to you and was not intended to be yours. Thrive in the kingdom potential that is uniquely yours. The Shekhina, The Divine Feminine, dwells in Malchut. As the Indwelling Presence of Divinity, She brings the gift of sovereignty.


Abuse survivors often struggle with Number 5 (honor thy mother and father) as an incisively painful and unjust burden. People are often shamed for not forgiving their abusive parents or shamed into ‘forgiving’ when it doesn’t feel safe, heartfelt or healing for them. The Kabbalistic meaning is an inclusive and shame-free understanding everyone can joyfully practice and embrace. 

One thought on ““The Ten Commandments”- Mystical Meaning

  1. Pingback: Sacred Languages, Sacred Treasures – Soul Circle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s