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Daily Aliya for Vaetchanan, Revii (4th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: Moshe repeats the Ten Commandments, reminding the Israelites that the Sinai covenant was not limited to those who were physically present at Mount Sinai.

The very first of the ten commandments is very unique. It doesn’t just say “I am the Lord your G-d”, which would have been sufficient. In case we forget, it continues “… who took you out of Eqypt…”, and as if that wasn’t enough, “…out of the house of slavery”. It’s pretty obvious that knowing G-d also requires appreciating the correct context with which to know Him, and I think the following two phrases offers two different depths of appreciation: On a basic level, G-d physically took us out of Egypt, performing many miracles in the process, and for that we are forever indebted to Him. But we were also in a situation where we were slaves to the slave-masters, who were slaves to their superiors, who worked for theirs, on their way up the hierarchical ladder to Pharaoh. We weren’t just slaves, we were slaves in a house of slaves, drowned in meaning and purpose diluted at every mired level of slavery. G-d took us from that situation to one where we interact directly with G-d himself, where meaning and purpose is clear, pure and undiluted, and part of the first commandment is for us to understand and appreciate G-d on all these levels.