This week we are standing again at Sinai and listening to God speak ten simple phrases. Why these commandments, and - for that matter - why all the rest of them?
"You yourselves saw what I did to Egypt, and I bore you on the wings of eagles and I brought you to Me. And now, if you will truly heed My voice and keep My covenant, you will become for Me a treasure among all the peoples, for Mine is all the earth. And as for you, you will become for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:4-6).
Everyone in this world is subject to commandments - our special role is to serve as an example for others by following a set of rules designed to instill within us a habit of moral and ethical behavior: clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, watching out for the interests of those on the edge of society, those who are most at risk of being abused. Everyone should be behaving this way, but our honor is to model the behavior for the nations of the world - and each other.