Gershon Hepner

The Tenth Commandment

Because of the last of the Ten Commandments, wrote Meir Shalev, no one can be by God awarded a perfect score card, the whole world being guilty of what’s biblically wrong.

Perfection is by this commandment to everybody theologically thwarted:

There’s nobody on earth who does not want what does not to him rightfully belong.

In “Meir Shalev, Whose Novels Found Humor in Israeli Life, Dies at 74,” NYT, 4/13/22,  Joseph Berger writes:

Meir Shalev, whose novels affectionately satirizing Israel’s pioneers made him one of the nation’s leading writers, died on Tuesday at his home in the village of Alonei Abba in northern Israel’s Jezreel Valley. He was 74….

In writing about the Bible, Mr. Shalev noted that the Tenth Commandment, unlike the other nine, is a prohibition against coveting — that is, against feeling, not action.

“Everyone covets,” he wrote. “Everyone fails the last commandment. Thus, the biblical lawgiver made sure that no Jew would ever get a perfect 10 in the test of the commandments. Nine is the highest score on the Jewish report card.”

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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