The 10 Commandments are one of the most significant codes for social justice the world has ever known. Rabbi Saadia Gaon (882-942CE), explains that the 10 Commandments serve as a “roadmap” to all of the 613 commandments in general based upon the common conceptual principles of both.

Here is a personal reflection on the 10 Commandments as they apply to personal growth and the navigation of life’s trials and challenges.

  1. I am the L-rd your G-d
    LEAN UPON THE ALMIGHTY
    Know that there is a God, that things don’t happen without a reason and that ultimately all the challenges you have are opportunities for growth and avenues to connect to Him on a deeper level. Use this experience to deepen your relationship with Him, to pray to Him and to know that He is with you.

  2. Do Not Worship Idols
    DO NOT SUCCUMB TO ILLUSIONARY ESCAPES
    If life becomes stressful, work is overwhelming, be aware of how you may be dealing with it. Are you gravitating toward unhealthily means to sedate the pain? Are you finding yourself relying upon alcohol, food or other addictive means? These are all illusionary vehicles for feeling good. They are alien and non-truthful support systems.

  3. Do not Take G-d’s Name in Vain
    DO NOT JUSTIFY FALSE APROACHES UNDER THE GUISE OF TRUTH AND SPRITUALITY
    When seeking techniques of self-improvement and well-being be careful to keep your moral compass and sense of right and wrong in the forefront of your mind and not rationalize a particular method under the guise of it being okay when really it isn’t. Do not internally put God’s stamp of approval on something you know He just wouldn’t sanction.

  4. Remember the Sabbath to Keep it Holy
    UNPLUG FROM THE WORLD FOR ONE DAY A WEEK
    We all need one day a week to unplug, to connect to oneself, family and God. It gives us a time to reflect and recalibrate where I‘m going and how I’m doing things. Make Shabbat a top priority for the sake of yourself and your family.

  5. Honor Your Father and Mother
    HONOR THE LEGACY OF YOUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS
    Reflect upon your parents, grandparents or great grandparents’ trials and tribulations and how they endured and overcame them. Honor their memory and their legacy by going the extra mile to face your challenges with dignity and victory like they did theirs.

  6. Do Not Murder
    DO NOT UNDERMINE THE IMAGE OF GOD WITHIN YOURSELF AND OTHERS
    Self-improvement is predicated on a healthy self-esteem and sense of inner sanctity. Ponder your unique talents and qualities, how your identity is much larger and richer than the things and circumstances that are causing you stress. Know that you possess immense value and that you deserve to be happy.

  7. Do not Commit Adultery
    DO NOT VIOLATE THE LOVE AND SUPPORT OF YOUR CLOSEST LOVED ONES
    It’s easy to violate the love and support of loved ones when life becomes difficult. It’s easy to disrespect them and distance ourselves from them. But remember that your wife, your husband, your best friend etc., love you and care for you. Don’t violate these sacred bonds and precious relationships while in the mire of your struggle.

  8. Do Not Steal
    DO NOT ABROGATE RESPONSIBILITIES
    The conceptual definition of theft is disregard for boundaries. Despite the challenges you may be going through, remain strong in your personal and social responsibilities even though you don’t feel like performing them. A structured life is a healthy life; it keeps unhealthy emotional reactions at bay.

  9. Do Not Bear False Testimony
    DO NOT BE IN DENIAL OF WHAT YOU MAY NEED TO CHANGE
    We can easily become locked up in our perspectives, behaviors and patterns of living. They feel secure. Change is unsettling. Be brave and take a serious look at how you’re approaching your life and embrace that which you know you really should do but are avoiding or denying.

  10. Do Not Covet
    DO NOT THINK THAT OTHER PEOPLE’S CHALLENGES ARE EASIER
    We come full circle back to the first commandment that everything happens for a reason. God is in control and whatever challenge you may be going through is tailor-made for you. There is no better portion of “good” and “bad” that you could have been given. Don’t look a yonder to your neighbor, friend or family member and wish you had their life, thinking it would be so much easier and better. It’s not true. Your situation is the only one that will develop you into your unique self.