If you are like me and have a poor memory – especially when it comes to following commandments – you may take comfort in knowing that in the Torah God is said to have created a “cheat sheet” of sorts. God narrowed all the commandments down to just 10, from which the rest of the commandments flow.
So here’s an interesting question: How many of the Ten Commandments can you remember? Before moving on with this reflection, take a moment now fill in the blanks below. How many can you name?
If you came up short on this list, you may take comfort (of sorts) from the fact that most people can’t name all Ten. Years ago when I was living in Scottsdale, a reporter from the Scottsdale Tribune asked a number of clergy and laypeople to name the Ten Commandments. The laypeople averaged just 4-5. Even the clergy averaged just 7-8! Here they are:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
Of the above list, the first five are understood in our tradition to be the basic ways we act on our love for God (including the 5th commandment). The second five have to do with how we act on our love for our neighbor. Taken together, they are about how we respond to God’s love for us, which embraces us before we ever embrace God.
 Some traditions number the Ten Commandments differently depending on whether or not the preface to the commandments is considered a commandment itself: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”