The Torah presents us with two versions of the Ten Commandments: the first is found in the Book of Exodus and the second is found in the Book of Deuteronomy in this week’s Torah portion, Va’etchanan. While the two versions are mostly identical, there are some important differences, including the word used for the command regarding the Sabbath. While in Exodus, we are instructed to “Remember the Sabbath Day,” in Deuteronomy we are commanded to “Observe the Sabbath Day.” According to one tradition, Observe (shamor) is what we do on the day of Shabbat itself , it’s how we celebrate on Friday night and Saturday. Remember (zachor) is what we do during the rest of the week, that is, we remember and anticipate and prepare for the Sabbath. That’s why in the Hebrew, the days of the week are numerical: Sunday is Yom Rishon (the first day), Friday is Yom shishi (the sixth day). Only shabbat has its own name. Let’s remember to look forward to Shabbat all week and, when it arrives, let’s observe it with joy!
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