Post: As discussed in an earlier post, there are a number of differences between the account of the contents of the Aseres HaDibros in parashas Yisro and the retelling by Moshe in parashas Vaeschanan. And Ibn Ezra highlights all these changes (as well as one which does not exist), and discusses why the changes are or are not meaningful. I would like to focus on just one or two changes and discuss them.
What follows are the accounts side by side, with ****s marking missing words or letters from the parallel account. Thus, for instance, in Yisro there is the word עַבְדְּךָ, and it is is missing the leading vav from the parallel וְעַבְדְּךָ in Vaeschanan. Check out the linked-to post for the complete list.
The two changes I would like to focus on are:
- The added elaboration, at the end of Vaetchanan pasuk 13, of לְמַעַן יָנוּחַ עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ, כָּמוֹךָ.
- The changed reason for the mitzvah of Shabbat. In Yitro 10, it is the Creation. In Vaetchanan 14, it is the Exodus.
I would suggest that these two changes are related to one another. Change #1 is simply elaboration. We might think the best way of getting rest on Shabbat is having others take care of the labor for us, and since we have servants, we should assign them this task. But in Yisro, even servants were included in the prohibition. Vaeschanan makes this clearer, and adds a bit of cause. It is so that the servants, just like you, should rest.
The reason given for the entirety of keeping the Shabbat, in Vaeschanan 14 also works to explain why we are being so nice to the servants here. Put yourself in their place. You, too, were a servant, and it was only Hashem's redemption and outstretched hand which elevated you from that. Both reasons work, and are true, but this is the reason which is more relevant here.
We can add in a parallel to elsewhere in Devarim. In Devarim 24:21-22,
This reinforces the idea that this is an issue of empathy.
Zooming out once again, what are the messages about Shabbat in general? In Yisro, that this is a holy day, and so we should treat it, ritually, as a holy day. With the resting from all labor, we recognize Hashem's creation and mastery over the earth. In Yisro, that nationally, we belong to Hashem, and that all of our labors can cease at His command.