The Greatest Commandments, Part 3

(Scroll down to the bottom to view the latest snapshot of the commandments hierarchy.)

Last week we made our first addition of 5 commandments to the hierarchy. Prior to this, we had only the golden 2 commandments: to love God and love neighbor.

This week’s addition sees commandments related to the acknowledgement of and submission to God.

Acknowledging God’s holiness

“I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites.”

This commandment, found in Lev. 22:32, is the 2nd commandment listed in that verse, as last week’s “no profaning God’s name” is also found here.

Looking at the hierarchy, trying to figure out where all this fits, I played with the idea of having it derive from “no blaspheming”. After all, the Torah lists them beside each other, and they logically seem related. But I ended up deciding this was more related to knowing that God exists: before one can acknowledge God as holy, one must acknowledge that God exists.acknowledgeGodAsHoly


Fearing God

”Fear the LORD your God…”

The 7th commandment in Maimonides’ traditional listing of the commandments is the commandment to fear God. To fear, to have awe and wonder and reverence of God is a commandment I deem deriving from our previous commandment, “acknowledge God as holy”. I feel pretty solid about this grouping: one cannot fear God if one does not acknowledge God is holy and set apart:



#3 for this week is related to fearing the Lord:

No tempting God

“You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you did at Massah.”

This is a particularly interesting commandment. For one, other Scriptures seem to contradict this: Micah 3:10, for example, where God tells the prophet, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

A simplistic reconciliation may be found in the context for this commandment: “Do not tempt…as you did at Massah.

Additionally, this commandment is of particular interest as the Messiah quotes this commandment when, having been tempted by the evil one, recites this commandment, saying,

“Do not put the LORD your God to the test!”

For those followers of Messiah who question whether he was divine, this is a good example among many from the apostolic Scriptures that show, yes, Messiah is in God, and God in Messiah, and together they are one: testing Messiah was testing God.

Where does this “No tempting God” commandment fit in our hierarchy of the commandments? I really struggled with this one. It is certainly related to “Loving God with all your being”. We currently have 3 commandments derived directly from the greatest commandment:


Where does “no tempting God” fit?

Is tempting God a kind of blaspheming of God? Or is it related to “know God exists”? Or is it a direct derivative of “Love God with all your being”?

I feel comfortable saying “no tempting God” is not related to “have no other gods”. In the end, I went with deriving this commandment from “acknowledge God’s holiness”. This seems to fall in line with the ancestor commandments, too: to love God, one must know he exists, acknowledge his holiness, fear God, and not tempt him.


The 5th and final commandment for this week is a commandment deriving directly from “love God with all your being”, a commandment that will have many, many descendant commandments:

Keep all God’s commandments

“The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.”


So many, in fact, a good number of the psalms are dedicated to this idea: that God prospers those who obey his commandments. Many of the blessings found in the Torah are predicated on this crux commandment.

One last change

That’s all mapped commandments for this week!

As our commandments hierarchy grows larger, invariably we'll need to move commandments around and change their parents as we introduce commandments that are a better fit. After introducing "acknowledge God's holiness", it seemed good to me that the "no blaspheming" commandment ought to be a child of acknowledging God's holiness.

Since we set up our system so that changing commandment hierarchy is an easy, frictionless process, I made that change, recompiled the hierarchy, and…

(Click for full size)

There you have it, fine blog readers! 11 down, 602 to go.



  1. Not to derail the topic, but I'd question you're interpretation of Messiah's words. It seems to me he's saying that jumping off the cliff and expecting Hashem to send angels to catch him would be him putting Hashem to the test, and that is what he is refuting.

    I'm loving this project though :)

  2. Yep, it's just my personal interpretation there. I may have misinterpreted. I will look over it again before bring it up.

    Glad you're enjoying the project!

  3. For all those interested: this section of Mishne Torah expounds on all these commandments which are called "yesodei HaTorah" meaning "the foundations of the Torah".