I love our new sanctuary. I love sitting there watching the light come in or the sun set. I love looking at that beautiful wooden ark with all those lovely phrases on it. But here’s a confession. I don’t really know what it says. I mean, I know it’s the Ten Commandments, but literally, what does it say in Hebrew? I learned to read Hebrew only sorta, a long time ago, and once you take away my vowels, forget it. So there I am, struggling to figure out how it should sound; is it an “eh” sound or an “ah?” And aren’t the Ten Commandments more than two words? Also, while I am sure many people can whip off the actual 10, I find I am often missing one, which upsets me more than forgetting one of the Seven Dwarves (usually Sneezy.) I did a little digging and discovered that the two words per commandment are the first two words of each, and refer to the rest of the sentence. I got the transliteration and the definition of each with the help of Stuart Skolnick. So just in case I am not the only one who just doesn’t know, here’s a guide to your ark. Next time you look at it, you’ll know how it’s pronounced and what each one refers to. As to the sentence that goes across the whole top of the ark, that is a line from Psalms and means “worship God with joy.” This month we celebrate Shavuot, when God gave the Torah to us, so now you can know exactly what we got, and how to say it. Happy Shavuot to all.

Sharon DeLevie

TBA Ark transliterated

Author: Melissa