Image credit – Flickr user ANVRecife. Image title is “Killing Ideas II”.
Ed. Note: What follows is our sixth blog post as a part of the 10 commandment series. We are counting up to Shavuot by sharing personal reflections from congregants on each one of the 10 commandments. Today’s reflection comes from Liv Nash and gives an interesting and new view of the commandment not to murder. Please join our conversation by adding your thoughts and opinions to this or any post. What do you think of Liv’s take on the commandment? What do you take from her point of view?
My interpretation of the 6th Commandment relies on a non-legal one. As noted in Broken Tablets, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Bloch of Telshe also suggests “that a concept of murder more subtle and comprehensive than standard legal definitions is intended.”
I look at the 6th Commandment as a direction to not suppress one’s beliefs, regardless of how they may or may not deviate from what the majority of people may or may not believe. As someone who grew up in a secular household, I didn’t think about religion or spirituality. I knew that I was Jewish and that we celebrated Passover and Hanukah, but I didn’t quite get what being Jewish meant. I know that I thought of it more as a religion than an act of being, which is how I interpret my Judaism today.
As my involvement in Temple Beth Shalom began to grow, I had conflicted feelings about my beliefs – did I believe in G-d or did I feel a connection to the spiritual aspects of Judaism that are so often discussed in our meetings. Even as I attended my adult B’nei Mitzvah classes, leading up to my becoming a Bat Mitzvah here at TBS, I almost felt a need to ignore my feelings toward the religious aspect of what I was doing as I felt very conflicted: again, did I believe in G-d or not and how was I going through this monumental step in my life without knowing. I was suppressing the need to “come clean” with my own interpretation of being a Jew.
Fortunately for me, the TBS community, its leaders and in particular the clergy, have made me realize that all that I was feeling and am still today, is OK. There isn’t a need to put aside the fact that my beliefs may not be consistent with so many. They are my beliefs and I shall not “murder” them.