Take a Moment to Pause


By Jonah Spiegelman

Parshat Yitro is arguably one of the most important of all in the Five Books of Moses.

In this Torah portion, G-d leads the people of Israel while they are wandering through the Sinai Desert and gives them the Ten Commandments. Rather than discuss the commandments themselves, however, I am going to focus on the pauses between them.

When G-d gave the Ten Commandments, G-d paused between each commandment, as is reflected in the Torah trope. During the chanting of these tropes, the reader pauses between each of the commandments. This continues for all 10 of the commandments, even the shorter ones that are all written in one verse.

Why would this be?

I think that G-d paused to emphasize each one as a separate idea. This was also beneficial to Moses and the people of Israel because the pauses gave them time to process each commandment.

In my life, there are definitely times when I want to pause and take a breath before I continue on with what I’m doing. For example, in school when I am taking a test, I want to take a minute and just think about what I am doing, instead of rushing to finish the test.

Another example is that while playing baseball, it is necessary to stop and evaluate what might happen on the next play. When I pause during my Torah reading, I can really take in the moment: I am standing on the bimah, in front of all of my friends and family, reading some of the most important verses in the Torah.

If we as human beings never pause and just speed through life, we would never have the time to get to enjoy life and just take in whatever is going on. Life is short, and we need to enjoy it. We need to really take the time to know what is happening and just absorb how everything is going. We need to make memories while we still can, because one day, we won’t be able to.

Photo provided.



Jonah Spiegelman is a seventh grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.

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