Shemot 20:14 שמות כ׳:י״ד
1 א

לא תחמוד. ידוע כי החמדה תלויה בלב ועקר המצוה שיתיאש האדם מכל מה שיש לחברו קרקע ומטלטלין ויפנה לבו מן המחשבה הזאת שלא יחשוב בהם ולא יחמדם כי מתוך החמדה יבא אדם לידי רציחה, שכן מצינו בעכן (יהושע ז׳:כ״א) ואראה בשלל אדרת שנער אחת טובה וגו' ואחמדם ואקחם, והחמדה הזאת הביאתו לידי סקילה, וכן מצינו בענין אחאב שחמד כרם נבות היזרעאלי והיא הסיבה שהביאתו לידי מיתה.

לא תחמוד, “do not covet.” It is known that coveting something is a matter for the heart. The principal warning contained in this commandment is that one must train oneself to absolutely renounce all hope of ever acquiring things belonging (legally) to another person, be it real estate, livestock, inert objects, etc. One must not even think of these and wish for them in one’s heart. Were one to covet them one would ultimately commit murder in order to own them oneself. A classic case in point was Achan. When he confessed to having taken from the loot of the city of Jericho, this is how he worded his confession (Joshua 7,21): “I saw among the spoils a fine Shinar mantle, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, and I coveted them and took them. They are buried in the ground in my tent, with the silver under it.” This act of coveting resulted in Achan being stoned to death.(ibid verse 29). Another example of the extremes to which allowing oneself to covet someone else’s property may lead was King Achav (Kings I 21, 1-24). His uncontrollable desire to own the vineyard of Navot ultimately resulted in his being slain in battle.

2 ב

ואמרו במדרש כל מי שהוא חומד מה שאינו ראוי לו מה שחומד אין נותנים לו ומה שבידו נוטלים ממנו שכן מצינו בנחש הקדמוני נתן עיניו בחוה וחמדה ולא היתה ראויה לו, מה שבקש לא נתן לו ומה שבידו נטלו ממנו, שהרי נתקלל על זאת על גחונך תלך, ע"כ במדרש. ולולא שהגזל בכלל החמדה ומצד החמדה היה ראוי להכתב בי' הדברות בכלל הלאוין לאו של לא תגזול כי היא עברה חמורה עד מאד ורוב העולם נכשלים בה ועוד שהיא מצוה מושכלת כרציחה והנאוף והגנבה ועדות שקר אבל מפני שהחמדה כוללת אותו שאין אדם גוזל עד שיחמוד וכענין שכתוב (מיכה ב׳:ב׳) וחמדו שדות וגזלו לכך לא הוצרך להזכירו וכלל אותו בלאו של לא תחמוד, ועוד כי רצה לאסור אפילו החמדה שהיא תאות הלב בכל עת ובכל שעה אע"פ שאינו בא לידי מעשה כדי שילמד אדם ק"ו לאסור הגזלה שהוא המעשה. ואמנם מצינו חמדה שהיא מותרת והיא חמדת התורה והמצות וכמו שאמרו רז"ל קנאת סופרים תרבה חכמה, והחמדה והקנאה הזאת היא מותרת ויש לאדם שכר עליה. ובכלל החמדה המותרת הוא מי שחומד בת חברו לבנו דרך נשואין, שהרי שנינו (שמות כ׳:י״ד) לא תחמוד בית רעך, כלל (דברים ה׳:י״ח) שדהו ועבדו ואמתו שורו וחמורו פרט מה הפרט דבר שאי אפשר לו לבא ברשותך אלא ברצון ורשות בעליו אף הכלל כן יצא בתו לבנך או בנו לבתך שהוא יכול לבא ברשותך שלא ברשות אביהם. הנה בארתי לך ה' דברות שניות שבלוח השני סדורם ובאורם, וקשורם זו בזו הוא כן כי התחיל לא תרצח והזהיר שלא להמעיט את הבריות אע"פ שהם רבים, וכדי שלא יאמר אדם מאחר שהוא מוזהר שלא להמעיטם יוכל להרבותם באיסור ודרך זנות לפיכך הזהיר מיד לא תנאף, וכדי שלא יאמר כיון שהזהיר שלא להמעיטם ושלא להרבותם באיסור א"כ יכול הוא לגנוב בני אדם שאין זה מחסרן ולא ממעיטן אלא שהוא מוליכן למקום אחר למכור ואין זה בא כנגד גופם אלא כנגד ממונם לכך אמר לא תגנוב, וכדי שלא יאמר גנבת נפשות אף ע"פ שאינו ממעיטם אסור מפני שזה מזיקו במעשה אבל להזיקו בדבור מותר לכך אמר לא תענה, וכיון שאסר הדבור אולי יחשוב כי המחשבה הרעה מותרת שיחמוד בלבו ממונו וכל אשר לו לכך נאמר לא תחמוד ובא לאסור אף ההרהור.

Concerning this the Talmud Sotah 9 comments that “if someone covets something that is not appropriate for him to have, he will wind up losing even what was appropriate for him to own.” He becomes cursed. This is what happened to the serpent who seduced Chavah. It wanted to replace Adam as Chavah’s husband and instead it wound up having to crawl on its belly and to eat dust. Thus far the Midrash.
Had it not been for the fact that robbery is an integral aspect of coveting and on account of this it deserved to be included in the Ten Commandments, the outright prohibition of robbery would have had to be included in the Ten Commandments, seeing that robbery is such a wide-spread a sin and so severe an infraction of G’d’s laws.
Furthermore, robbery is a sophisticated sin similar to murder, adultery, theft, and false testimony. However, seeing that coveting conceptually includes robbery as a person does not commit robbery until he has first coveted the object he robs, it was not included specifically in the Decalogue. The proof for the close linkage between coveting and committing robbery is found in Micah 2,2 where the prophet places the two sins side by side when he writes: “they covet fields and seize them, houses and take them away.” A further reason why the Torah preferred to include the prohibition of coveting in the Ten Commandments over the alternative of including “do not commit robbery,” is that the prohibition to covet is more all embracing and the Torah wanted to make plain that it views a person eyeing other people’s property with an eye to acquiring it as being guilty of such a severe sin that it was included in the Ten Commandments and inscribed by G’d Himself on the stone tablets. The Torah wanted man to use a little logic and to realise that if G’d took such a dim view of someone who only eyes other people’s property as something he wants for himself, how much more so would G’d react to someone who actually made a move to commit robbery to possess the property in question!
Still, there are occasions when coveting is a character trait which is permitted. Coveting the opportunity to perform certain commandments of the Torah is not only permissible but is praiseworthy. This is what our sages had in mind (Baba Batra 21) when they said קנאת סופרים תרבה חכמה, “the envy displayed by scholars of the knowledge of other scholars who are their superiors leads to an all-round increase in wisdom.” This kind of jealousy and coveting such knowledge possessed by another is not only permissible but is rewarded by G’d. Included in this type of permissible desire is the desire for one’s friend’s (unmarried) daughter to be married to one’s son. When the Torah writes first: “do not covet the house of your fellow,” this is a general prohibition; when it continues with detailing: “his wife, his field, his house, his servant or maidservant,” these are details. Just as these details are matters which cannot possibly become yours unless their present owner so agrees, so the same rule applies to what is described in the כלל, i.e. in the introduction to this legislation, coveting a house. This, however, excludes one’s fellow’s daughter (if she has reached the age of puberty, 12 and a half years of age) to become the wife of your son or vice versa as neither requires the permission of a second party to become married to the other party seeing they are not presently “owned” by anyone. This concludes my commentary on the last five of the Ten Commandments. I have demonstrated that they are all conceptually linked to one another commencing with the warning not to murder.
One must not decrease the world’s population even if one thinks the world is overpopulated. Having understood this a person might say to himself that it must be G’d’s will to increase the human population on earth even at the cost of engaging in illicit sexual relations, [even if well meant, such as impregnating a married woman with her sterile husband’s consent in order for them to have a child. Ed.] The Torah therefore warns you that any form of adulterous relationship is taboo; so much so that the penalty is death.
A person may then reason that if increasing the world’s population by adulterous means is forbidden, he might at least effect a population exchange by acquiring an existing human being (through stealing it). All he would be doing is to transplant that human being from one city or country to another. He would then sell such a person in a different location. He would reason that at worst he had committed a minor offense involving financial damage to the first owner. The Torah therefore included this sin in the Ten Commandments to make clear that it views such conduct as a capital offense, not merely a commercial misdemeanor. Having appreciated the seriousness of the sin of kidnapping, one might still think that an offense such as uttering false testimony is minor, seeing that it involves only words, not deeds. To prevent us from thinking along these lines the Torah had to include the legislation that one must not be involved in false testimony as part of the Ten Commandments. Finally, even if one had understood that causing damage to a second party by deceitful use of one’s mouth, one’s words, is serious indeed, one might think that harboring only evil thoughts such as contemplating property belonging to someone else would certainly not be considered criminal, so the Torah disabuses us of such thoughts by legislating the law of לא תחמוד as so important that it is included in the Ten Commandments.

3 ג

ומה שהיו הדברות עשרה ע"ד הפשט לפי שהוא חשבון שלם הכולל את הכל והוא תכלית כל המספר שאין לך מספר בעולם שלא יהיה נכלל ביו"ד.
וע"ד המדרש היו הדברות עשרה מפני שקודם לכן נצטוו הדורות בז' מצות ואחרי כן עלו לתשעה ועתה רצה הקב"ה לזכות את ישראל והרבה להם מצות כנגד כלן ונתן להם את הכל, שכן אמרו במדרש משל למה"ד למלך שהיה לו מרתף גדול ובתוכו חביות הרבה של יין טוב בא אוהבו של מלך נתן לו חבית אחת בא השני נתן לו שתים לזמן בא השלישי נתן לו שלשה בא הרביעי נתן לו ארבעה לזמן בא בנו של מלך נתן לו כל המרתף, כך כשנברא אדם הראשון נצטוה על ו' מצות כדי שיתקיים העולם בו' קצוות, בא נח ונצטוה על השביעית זו אבר מן החי, אברהם על השמינית זו המילה, יעקב על התשיעית זו גיד הנשה, כשבאו ישראל נתן להם י' הדברות שהן כוללות תרי"ג מצות, ועל זה אמר הכתוב בקרבנות י"ב נשיאים (במדבר ז) כף אחת עשרה זהב מלאה קטר"ת מלאה תרי"ג כי הקו"ף מתחלפת בדל"ת, והמדרש הזה מבאר לנו כי תרי"ג אותית שבעשרת הדברות תרי"ג מצות נכללות בהן.

The reason why there are precisely Ten Commandments which were deemed fit to be engraved on these Tablets: according to the plain meaning the number 10 is a number which symbolises a closed circle, i.e. something complete. There is not a single number which does not somehow derive from the י the number represented by the number 10. [Even when we count beyond the number 10 we have to begin again with the number 1, etc. i.e. we repeat ourselves to some extent.]
A Midrashic approach: the reason that Ten Commandments were inscribed on the Tablets was that prior to the revelation mankind had known seven basic G’d-given laws which were the guidelines for man’s conduct on earth. This original number had already been increased to nine prior to the revelation. At this point G’d wanted to enable the people of Israel to earn credit for performing additional commandments; this is why He decided to reveal all the commandments starting now (Makkot 23).
The matter is explained in Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1,4 by means of a parable: A king had a large cellar wherein he stored many barrels of good wine. One of the king’s friends came to visit and the king presented him with a barrel of wine. A second friend came to visit the king, and and the king presented him also with a barrel of wine. A third friend came to visit and the king presented him with yet another barrel of wine. Eventually, the king’s son came to visit and the king was so overjoyed that he gave him the entire stock of wine in the cellar. The parable mirrors the sequence in which G’d handed out His commandments to man. When Adam had been created he had been given six commandments. They were designed to ensure the ability of the universe to endure, i.e. each commandment symbolised one of the six points of the globe known in aggadic terms as קצוות העולם (the extreme ends of the world). Fulfillment of each commandment would prevent those ends of the universe from disintegrating [due to their distance from the center. Ed.]. With the appearance of Noach on earth and his having survived the deluge due to meticulous observance of these six commandments, G’d rewarded him with a seventh commandment, not to consume tissue of a living animal. Avraham, who led the life of a model human being, was rewarded with an eighth commandment, that of circumcision. Yaakov, another “friend of the king,” was rewarded with a ninth commandment, that of גיד הנשה, not to eat the sinew of the femoral vein. When the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai in their multitudes, G’d decided to reward them with the Ten Commandments which contained within them the gist of all the 613 commandments of the Torah. In order to allude to this concept the Torah writes in connection with the offerings of the princes on the occasion of the consecration of the Holy Tabernacle (Numbers 7,14) כף אחת, עשרה זהב, מלאה קטרת, “one (gold) ladle of ten (shekel weight) filled with incense.” In an allegorical sense, the verse speaks of the Ten Commandments which are represented by the golden ladle and which are filled with the balance of the 613 commandments described as “incense.” Actually, the letter ק in the word קטרת is interchangeable with the letter ד, so that the numerical value of the letter in the word קטרת would amount to a total of 613. (compare Bamidbar Rabbah 13,16. It is pointed out there also that the number of letters in the Ten Commandments commencing with the word אנכי, excluding the last two words אשר לרעך total 613. The seven letters in the last two words would represent the seven Noachide laws to which all of mankind was obligated after the deluge. (All of this reinforces the idea that the Ten Commandments are the gist of all the commandments in the Torah.)

4 ד

וע"ד השכל היו הדברות עשרה כנגד עשרה גלגלים, דבור ראשון אנכי כנגד גלגל השכל (והתעורר לזה), לא יהיה לך אלהים אחרים כנגד גלגל המקיף והזכיר בו אלהים אחרים כי רבים חשבו בו שהוא הבורא בעבור שאינו גוף, לא תשא כנגד גלגל חמה זכור כנגד גלגל לבנה, כבד כנגד גלגל צדק, לא תרצח כנגד גלגל מאדים, לא תנאף כנגד גלגל שבתאי, לא תגנב כנגד גלגל נוגה, לא תענה כנגד גלגל המזלות, לא תחמוד כנגד גלגל כוכב, ויש התעוררות גדולה בכוון כל דבור ודבור כנגד כל גלגל וגלגל ואם תכוין בהם תמצא הענין מורה על נפלאות הש"י וחכמת יצירותיו. ועוד ענין אחר כי היו י' כנגד י' אברים שרשיים שיש באדם שהוא עקר חיותו ושרש בנינו, שכן מצינו בנין האדם כבנין התורה, יש בתורה רמ"ח מצות עשה שס"ה מצות לא תעשה וי' הדברות וכן בבנין האדם רמ"ח אברים שס"ה גידים וי' אברים שרשיים, ואם תסתכל בהם תמצאם מכוונים כנגד י' הדברות כל דבור ודבור מכוון כנגד כל אבר ואבר ממונה עליו והוא מסור אליו, ואלו הן הלב, והאוזן, והפה, והמוח, והידים, והכבד, וברית מילה, והרגלים, העינים, והכליות, ואם תתעורר בהם בכוונם תמצאם.

A rational approach: The reason that there are Ten Commandments is that they correspond to ten celestial גלגלים, “planets,” i.e. celestial spheres influencing events on earth. [This number for the major stars in the planetary system (and what they represent in theological terms) is a departure from the number seven with which astrologers and astronomers of the middle ages used to operate. The idea of nine such planets is mentioned in Ibn Ezra’s commentary on his verse, attributed to an unnamed scholar. Expanding the number to nine involves assuming the existence of a “super-planet” which is responsible for the orbits of the other planets. Our author has his own method of explaining the number. Ed]
The first commandment, אנכי, corresponds to the גלגל השכל, the sphere of intelligence, the highest sphere beneath the throne of G’d’s glory [described in the essay called כתר מלכות by Rabbi Sholomo Ibn Gabirol printed in the Yom Kippur Machzor of Heidenheim (and recited privately in many German synagogues at the conclusion of the Kol Nidrei service still in my youth. Ed.] This celestial sphere is especially effective in alerting our thinking to thoughts of the Unity of G’d, His exclusivity as the only deity, etc.
The commandment לא יהיה לך, corresponds to the celestial sphere called גלגל המקיף by Ibn Gabirol. This commandment refers to אלהים אחרים, other deities. G’d had to take a stand against such erroneous thinking caused by people believing that though He is the Creator, seeing He is not physical, there were yet other divine forces which had a body.
The third commandment, לא תשא, corresponds to the planet sun; the גלגל חמה, the fourth, זכור, to the planet moon, גלגל לבנה. The fifth commandment, כבד corresponds to the celestial sphere Jupiter צדק גלגל. The sixth commandment, לא תרצח, corresponds to the גלגל מאדים, the planet Mars. The seventh commandment לא תנאף corresponds to the גלגל שבתאי, the celestial sphere of Saturn, whereas the eighth commandment לא תגנוב, corresponds to the גלגל נוגה, the celestial sphere of Venus. The ninth commandment לא תענה corresponds to the celestial sphere regulating the signs of the zodiac, the various constellations, whereas the tenth commandment לא תחמוד corresponds to the celestial sphere כוכב, Mercury.
There is great התעוררות, excitement, awakening of spiritual forces, connected with each of these commandments and how they interact with these celestial spheres. If you will study the subject in depth you will find that the wonders of G’d and the wisdom expressed by His creations becomes very manifest.
There is another reason for the number of these commandments being 10. Man possesses 10 basic organs which constitute the essence of his body without which he cannot function as a proper human being. We have mentioned repeatedly that the composition of man of 248 limbs and 365 sinews closely parallels the structure of the Torah which consists of 248 positive and 365 negative commandments. Just as the Torah considers the Ten Commandments as the irreducible minimum of man’s obligations vis-a-vis His Creator, so the ten organs which we mentioned as essential to man will be found to correspond to the messages addressed to man in the Ten Commandments. The ten organs in question are: 1) the heart, 2) the ear, 3) the mouth, 4) the brain, 5) the hands, 6) the liver, 7) the male organ, 8) the legs, 9) the eyes, 10) the kidneys. According to Rabbi Chavell, the heart corresponds to the first commandment seeing it has to be fulfilled by the heart. The ear corresponds to the second commandment as the ear must not listen to a false prophet inviting obeisance to another deity. The mouth corresponds to the third commandment not to utter false oaths. The brain corresponds to the fourth commandment as appreciation of the meaning of the Sabbath requires a brain. The hands correspond to the fifth commandment to honor parents by performing services for them with one’s hands. The liver corresponds to the sixth commandment seeing it is all blood and murder deals with blood. The male organ corresponds to the seventh commandment as one cannot engage in adultery without that organ. The legs correspond to the eighth commandment as in order to steal one employs one’s legs. The eyes correspond to the ninth commandment as testimony is based on what has been seen. The kidneys correspond to the tenth commandment seeing they are the seat of עצה, they advise how to translate the wish into reality, how to acquire what one has coveted.

5 ה

וע"ד הקבלה היו י' הדברות כנגד י' ספירות ותמצא בהם תרי"ג אותיות כנגד תרי"ג מצות הנאצלות והנמשכות מהן, וז' אותיות הנוספות בהם על תרי"ג להורות כי תרי"ג האותיות ותרי"ג המצות נתנו מתוך הז' הידועים שהזכרתי למעלה ושבע האותיות עם תרי"ג ישלימו לכת"ר אותיות כי כן השבע הנאצלים מן הכתר.

A kabbalistic approach. The Ten Commandments correspond to the ten emanations. You will find in them 613 letters corresponding to the 613 commandments which emanate from the Ten Commandments. The extra seven letters (which we discussed already) are an allusion to the seven קולות Moses heard, i.e. that he acquired an understanding of the meaning of the seven lower emanations while he experienced the revelation at Mount Sinai. When you add these seven letters to the other 613 letters the total numerical value will be 620, the numerical value of the tenth and highest emanation כתר. The seven emanations which Moses had learned to understand were all derived from that highest emanation כתר.

6 ו

ויען אשכילך ואורך בדרך הזה אסדרם בכאן איזה דבור כנגד איזו ספירה, דבור ראשון אנכי כנגד הכתר, לא יהיה לך כנגד חכמה, לא תשא כנגד תפארת, זכור כנגד עטרה והיא כנסת ישראל, כבד כנגד חסד, לא תרצח כנגד פחד, לא תנאף כנגד יסוד, לא תגנוב כנגד נצח, לא תענה כנגד תשובה, לא תחמוד כנגד הוד. ויש לך לקנות לב ולהתבונן בכוונה אע"פ שאין הספירות כסדרן כמו הדברות.

I will use this opportunity to acquaint you with some aspects of the emanations by explaining how each one relates or is relevant to one of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment, אנכי, corresponds to the emanation כתר, the highest emanation. The second commandment לא יהיה לך corresponds to the emanation חכמה. The third commandment לא תשא corresponds to the emanation תפארת; the fourth commandment, זכור corresponds to the emanation עטרה, i.e. כנסת ישראל. The fifth commandment כבד corresponds to the emanation חסד, whereas the sixth commandment לא תרצח, corresponds to the emanation פחד. The seventh commandment לא תנאף corresponds to the emanation יסוד. The eighth commandment לא תגנוב corresponds to the emanation נצח, whereas the ninth commandment לא תענה corresponds to the emanation תשובה. The tenth commandment לא תחמוד, corresponds to the emanation הוד.

7 ז

וצריך אתה לדעת כי מה שהוקבע דבור אנכי ראשון מפני שהוא מצות היחוד להאמין בנמצא הראשון שהוא ראשון לכל הראשונים. והוקבע לא יהיה לך בדבור שני כי אע"פ שהמלאכים נמצאים ראשונים בבריאה הנה הם במעלת השניות אצל מציאות השי"ת, וע"כ נבראו ביום שני ומזה נקראים שנאנים. והוקבע דבור לא תשא בג' כי הנושא שמו לשוא הוא מחריב העולם הנשען על ג' דברים על התורה ועל העבודה ועל גמילות חסדים, והוא נענש בג' השחתות שהוא מכלה את עצמו ואת עציו ואת אבניו, וחזר והזכיר אשר ישא את שמו לשוא כדי לרמוז על גודל העברה מפני שהנכשל בה הוא מקיל בכבוד הש"י ופורק מעליו עול הכבוד והמורא והוא שאמר הנביא (מלאכי א׳:ו׳) ואם אב אני איה כבודי ואם אדונים אני איה מוראי. זכור ברביעי מפני שיום השבת רביעי ליום רביעי וזה כנגד המאורות שנבראו ביום רביעי כי חמה בגלגל רביעי וכן הלבנה בגלגל רביעי לחמה על דרך שצ"ם חנכ"ל כי המאורות הם מרובעים וכן שבתאי שהוא כוכב של שבת תמצא שהוא רביעי לגלגל השכל כי למעלה משבתאי גלגל שמיני שבו הכוכבים ועליו גלגל תשיעי הוא ערבות ועל ערבות גלגל השכל, וכן עניני השבת מרובעים ארבע תפלות בשבת שאין זו דומה לזו וכן דברי הנביא בענין השבת מרובעים הוא שאמר (ישעיהו נ״ח:י״ג) אם תשיב משבת רגליך עשות חפציך ביום קדשי. כבד בחמישי מפני שטבע תולדות האדם נמשך מכח חמשה והם האב, והאם, והיסודות, והזמן, והקב"ה. האב ממנו הגידין והעצמות כל אשר לבן בו, האם ממנה כל חלקי האודם כגון הבשר והדם והשער והשחור שבעין והאי שחור אדום הוא אלא שלקה, היסודות הם ד' יסודות שכל מורכב מהם מתקיים בחבורם, הזמן הוא שיעבור הזמן ויאריך עליו שיעור הימים הראויים כי אז תגמר המלאכה, הקב"ה הוא הנופח בו נשמה שהוא העקר להחכימו ולהשכילו כי מבלעדיה אין לפעולות הקודמים עקר, וכן מצינו בטבע התולדה מיני ב"ח שהם ה', אדם, ובהמה, ועוף, ודגים, ושרצים. ובדבור זה החמישי הזכיר על האדמה בטבע תולדותם ה' דברים, שדה תבואה, שדה כרמים, גן של ירק, פרדס, יער צומח עצים. גם מיני מתכות הנמצאים באדמה הן ה', זהב וכסף ונחשת ברזל ועופרת. לא תרצח בששי כי שש מדות המה שגורמות הרציחה והן, הקנאה, והתאוה, והאיבה, והכעס, והקלות, והשכרות, והרוצח רצח את האדם שנברא ביום ששי. לא תנאף בשביעי מפני שאסורי עריות הן שבעה ואלו הן, אשת איש, אשתו נדה, אלמנה, בתולה, משכב בהמה, משכב זכור, כותית. ושבעה ענינים אסורים בה והן, הראיה, והשמיעה, והיחוד, הדבור, המשוש, הנשיקה, המעשה. לא תגנוב בשמיני מפני שכלל הגנבות הן ח' ואלו הן, בחשבון, במדה, במשקל, במציאה, גונב נפש מאחיו, וגונב ממון, גונב דעת, גונב לעצמו, הוא שנעשה אפוטרופוס של יתומים והחזיק בממונם בהיתר שהשיא לבנו הבת היתומה, ועליו נאמר (ויקרא י״ט:י״ג) לא תעשק את רעך ולא תגזל. לא תענה בתשיעי, ידוע כי גלגל התשיעי הוא ערבות שבו כסא הכבוד ושם אוצר הנשמות וזה שמעיד שקר כופר באותו מקום סגולת הנפשות שלא תשוב נפשו למעלה. לא תחמוד בעשירי, כי החומד הוא מכת פועלי האון, וכיון שחומד ממון אחרים כ"ש שיחמוד ממון עצמו שלא יפריש ממנו מעשר, ועל כן הוקבע דבור לא תחמוד בעשירי להזהיר על המעשר כי החומד גוזל ומי שהוא גוזל את המעשרות לעצמו גוזלן כי הארץ תחניף לו ומפני זה הוצרך לקבוע עשירי דבור לא תחמוד. ועם המצוה הזאת נשלמו עשרת הדברות כנגד עשרה גלגלים ועשר ספירות אמורות. ומה שלא נכתבו בספר כסדר הגלגלים והספירות המופלאות, הנה זאת עדות ואות למאמר החכמים יודעים סודות הנוראות, שאין מוקדם ומאוחר בתורת ה' צבאות, בהם גדלנו אלהינו והנחילנו מעלה וזכות, בהם שם על ראשנו כתר מלכות, שם בכל חכמות רמות רזים ותעלומות, שם תרי"ג המצות רשומות, שם כל האותיות חתומות, זולתי אות ט' משם נסתרת, ואיננה נזכרת, והטעם בזה על דעת החכמים בקבלתם, יודעי עשר הדברים על יסודותם, לפי שהלוחות עתידין להשתבר וכדי שלא יאמרו פסקה טובתם, וכונתם בזה לפי שאות הטי"ת מורה על הטוב, וטי"ת ראשונה שבתורה רשומה במלת טוב.

You will have to consider this very carefully. Although the Commandments are not listed in their usual order, i.e. parallel to the sequence of the ten emanations, you will realise the reason why the commandment אנכי had to be the first one. This is because seeing that G’d is first and we have to believe in that fact, the second commandment, which ensures that we do not dilute our belief in the supremacy of G’d as the first and only מציאות at that time, had to be commandment number two although the angels were created before man and it might seem odd to command man who did not exist yet how not to relate to G’d. This might seem especially peculiar when we consider that it was commanded in a framework when seeing there had not been any angels or other agents of G’d, man could not have become guilty of idolatry even if he had tried.
The angels represent second rank in the order of creation, immediately below G’d Himself. This is why they were created on the second day (see author’s comment on Genesis 1,21 under “a kabbalistic approach). This is the reason why the angels are called שנאנים based on Psalms 68,18 אלפי שנאן (from the word שני “second”). The third commandment לא תשא is the third as anyone who uses G’d’s name in vain destroys the world which is built on three pillars, i.e. Torah, service of the Lord, and the performance of deeds of loving kindness for fellow human beings (Avot 1,2). The penalty for contravening that commandment also is threefold: Such a person destroys “his bones, his timber, and his stones.” Compare Zecharyah 5,4 who describes what G’d will do to people who swear false oaths as: “it (the curse) shall lodge in the inside of their houses and shall consume them to the last timber and stone.” The Torah repeats the sin, concluding the commandment with the words: “who will use His name in vain,” to emphasize how severely G’d views violation of this commandment. Treating G’d’s honour as of little consequence is equivalent to shaking off the whole range of the commandments as an intolerable burden. The prophet Malachi 1,6 phrased it thus: “If I am a father, where is the honour due Me? If I am a master, where is the reverence due Me?” The reason the commandment זכור was chosen to be the fourth commandment is because the Sabbath is the fourth day following the fourth day, the day on which sun, moon, and all the celestial phenomena were placed in their respective orbits. The sun is the fourth of the seven (or nine) such celestial orbits revolving around the earth. [The author as well as the Kabbalists whose views he mentions lived long before Copernicus, Ed.] The moon is in a fourth orbit relative to the sun, based on the sequence שצ'ם חנכ'ל, the seven “fixed stars” which we have mentioned on repeated occasions. The luminaries are considered מרובעים, “divided into four,” seeing the day is divided into four parts. You will also note that שבתאי, Saturn, the planet corresponding to the Sabbath is the fourth from (inside) the orbit of the גלגל השכל, the sphere of intelligence. Immediately above (outside) that sphere is the eighth sphere that of the כוכבים, the stars. Beyond that sphere is the ninth sphere, the one called ערבות, beyond which is the גלגל השכל the sphere of intelligence.
Everything connected with the Sabbath is divided into “four.” There are four separate prayers on the Sabbath none of which is a repetition of any other. The prophet (Isaiah 58,13) when describing the outstanding features of the Sabbath and how we are to behave on it, makes his points in sentences of four words each, such as 1) אם תשיב משבת רגליך, “if you refrain from trampling the Sabbath; 2) עשות חפציך ביום קדשי, “from pursuing your affairs on My holy day.” The fifth commandment כבד is the fifth in number as there are five contributing components which result in offspring being born, in parents becoming parents. They are father, mother, fundamentals of nature, i.e. יסודות, time, and G’d. The father contributes the sinews, the bones and everything in the human being that is coloured white; the mother contributes all the red-coloured parts, such as the blood, the flesh, the hair and the black in the pupil of the eyes (compare Niddah 31). This black-looking colour is in reality a form of red, it has been impaired (Niddah 19). The יסודות are the four basic raw materials our physical universe is composed of. These four basic components function in various combinations, i.e. they are to a human body what a mixture of metals is in an alloy. Time is a factor as a baby’s development inside the womb is determined by the passage of a certain amount of time. Development of the embryo is not complete unless a certain amount of time has elapsed. G’d contributes the soul which is the principal contribution to man’s intelligence. Without G’d’s contribution man would not amount to anything worthwhile although there had been input from 4 other sources. You will find that there are 5 different categories of living creatures in nature: man, mammals, birds, fish, and creeping creatures. When formulating the fifth commandment, the Torah referred to life on האדמה, “on the earth,” i.e. the part of nature yielding some sort of harvest. This part of the earth is divided into 5 categories, i.e. fields yielding a grain harvest; vineyards; vegetable gardens, orchards, forests growing trees for making furniture, heating, etc. There are also five basic kinds of metals that the earth yields for man: gold, silver, copper, iron and lead.
The sixth commandment לא תרצח, was placed in sixth position as 6 different character traits may be responsible for a human being murdering another human being. They are: jealousy, greed, hatred, anger, irresponsibility, and drunkenness. The first murder was committed against a human being who had been created on the sixth day (of the week and of creation).
The seventh commandment, לא תנאף, is appropriately number seven as there are seven forbidden sexual relationships. 1) sleeping with a woman married to someone else; 2) sleeping with any woman including one’s own when she is in a state of menstruation. 3) A High Priest must not marry a widow. 4) An ordinary priest must not marry a divorcee. 5) sexual relations with animals. 6) homosexual relations. 7) sexual relations with non-Jews. There are seven prohibitions (6 are Rabbinic) that might lead to such forbidden sexual relations. 1) visual, i.e. a situation which may cause arousal because one has viewed what is forbidden. 2) Aural arousal, i.e. listening to the seductive voice of a woman with whom relations are forbidden. 3) secreting oneself with such a woman; 4) conversation with her. 5) touching her; 6) kissing; 7) the actual deed.
The eight commandment לא תגנב, is in eighth place as there are eight varieties of violating this commandment. 1) wrong numbering; 2) wrong measuring; 3) wrong weights; 4) withholding found property. 5) kidnapping a Jew or Jewess. 6) stealing money. 7) גנבת דעת, deliberately misleading, i.e. “stealing somebody’s mind.” 8) “stealing for oneself,” i.e. embezzling funds entrusted to one by using them for one’s own needs in a legally permissible way such as if one is a trustee of funds of an orphan using these funds or part of them to pay for a wedding or even to become the dowry of the trustee’s son marrying such a female orphan. Concerning this way of taking advantage of one’s position as a trustee the Torah wrote (Leviticus 19,13) “You shall not defraud your fellow; You shall not commit robbery.”
The ninth commandment, לא תענה, was placed ninth because it is well known that the ninth (highest) celestial sphere ערבות contains the throne of G’d’s glory where He stored the souls prior to assigning them to bodies; deserving souls return to that region after death. Anyone who testifies falsely denies the existence and significance of that region and as a result his soul will never return to its sacred origin. Finally, the tenth commandment לא תחמוד was placed in tenth position as anyone who covets other people’s possessions and money will not be likely not give up a tenth of the money he already has; he will not set aside his tithes, etc. By placing this commandment in tenth position, the Torah found an elegant way of warning people that the positive commandment of paying one’s tithes is conceptually linked to the negative commandment not to covet. This commandment concludes the list of the Ten Commandments which correspond to the ten celestial spheres The fact that they have not been listed in the order corresponding to the sequence of the ten emanations is testimony to the deep wisdom of our sages who have said that the Torah is under no obligation to write matters in a chronological sequence of events These sages have displayed deep insight into how all of the 613 commandments are represented in the Ten Commandments and the 613 letters that the list comprises. They have even revealed to us the reason for the absence of the letter ט in this version, i.e. the absence of the words למען ייטב לך, a promise written in the second set of Tablets in the Book of Deuteronomy. Kabbalists suggest that the reason may have been that G’d knew that this set of Tablets was going to be smashed and He did not want the letter ט which symbolises טוב to be smashed (compare Baba Kama 55).

8 ח

ולפי דעתי טעם היות אות טי"ת נעדרת, אשר היא רמז לאבן העשירית גולת הכותרת, מטעם אסור החמץ בפסח כי בשמו הגדול יצאנו ממצרים מאפלה לאורה, וכן בהר סיני בשמו הגדול נתנה התורה, וסיוע לדברי מה שרמזו במדרש דורשי רשומות, כי לשון טיט"א סימן הריגה בלשון קדם, והמשכיל יבין יחקור ויאזין, ובזאת יאמין שהרי אות הטי"ת רמז למדת הדין, ואל תשומם אם היא בלוחות שניות נזכרת, כי כן ראוי לפי שהדבור ההוא שמור הוזהרנו בו לשמור משמרת, והכל מיוסד על אדני השכל והתבונה, והדברות חצובות ממקור החכמה והתבונה העליונה, אשרי אזנים שמעו אותם, וסופו כתחלתן, כי התחיל במצות הלב וסיים במצות ה' על דרך מאמר איתן האזרחי בספרו אשר בו צדיקים יכתירו, והמשכילים כזוהר הרקיע יזהירו, בענין עשר ספירות בלי מה אשר הם תחלת כל מפעל וראש כל ממשלת, נעוץ סופן בתחלתן כשלהבת קשורה בגחלת.

Personally, I can think of another reason why the letter ט is absent in the Decalogue (first version). The letter used to represent an allusion to killing or the death penalty in olden days. When the Jews died (80% of them during the ninth plague) which was itself a forerunner to the tenth plague, the wholesale dying of the first born, the letter ט, meaning “killing” was far more closely associated with death than with טוב, and the Torah wanted to avoid such allusions. at this time. [When the Israelites were given the second set of Tablets they were not standing at the mountain in mortal fear of expiring from the impact of G’d’s voice. Ed.]
The eating of leavened bread on Passover may have been prohibited because we left Egypt walking from deep spiritual darkness into great spiritual light, i.e. an Exodus orchestrated by the great name of Hashem, not just the “strong hand” which was involved in killing the Egyptian firstborn. At Mount Sinai the great name of Hashem was again in evidence and gave us the Torah. The sages of the Midrash had this in mind when they suggested that the letter ט is a veiled hint of the attribute of Justice. Seeing that the text of the second Tablets has the word שמור instead of the word זכור as the operative word describing Sabbath observance, there has already been a reference to the attribute of Justice, i.e. the negative aspect of the Sabbath observance. It is therefore not surprising that the Torah saw no need to omit the letter ט in that version when writing למען ייטב לך as part of the reward for observing the commandment to honour father and mother. The Ten Commandments may be viewed as completing the circle with the tenth commandment, i.e. just as the first commandment addresses itself primarily to our heart, so the tenth commandment again addresses itself to our heart. The author concludes by citing Avraham (reportedly) the author of the most ancient kabbalistic text, the ספר היצירה which concludes by acknowledging the insights into the emanations granted Avraham by G’d and how he learned to understand by means of the covenant of circumcision the deeper significance of the seven celestial spheres and the 12 signs of the zodiac. Understanding the ten emanations and how they were the prelude to G’d commencing the creation of a physical universe has been paraphrased by Daniel 12,3: “and the wise will shine like the radiance of the firmament and those who make the many righteous (Avraham’s missionary activities on behalf of monotheism) like the stars forever and ever.” Just as the flame is connected to the glowing coal from which it has risen, (i.e. the tangible produced the intangible) this is true in reverse for our world of the apparently tangible, physical, substantive having had its origin in the utterly intangible. [I have paraphrased the words of the author according to my understanding of them. Ed.]