The Top Ten . . . Commandments

Randall Stephens

For those who missed it, have a listen to the This American Life episode on "The Ten Commandments" (originally aired in 2007). Repentance for the show's recent lapse? You be the judge. As usual, it is humorous, provocative stuff.

Host Ira Glass reads from the Ten Commandments. Not the original Ten Commandments, but some of the newer, lesser-known ones. There's the "Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety," the "Ten Commandments of Paris Dining," the "Miner's Ten Commandments of 1853," the "Ten Commandments of Umpiring," and the "Ten Commandments for Math Teachers"—just to name a few. (4 minutes)

Commandments One, Two, And Three. Honor God.
As a boy in religious school, Shalom Auslander is informed that his name, Shalom, is one of the names of God; so he must be very careful not to take his own name in vain. Shalom Auslander is author of Beware of God: Stories and most recently Foreskin's Lament. (10 minutes)

Commandment Four. Keep The Sabbath Holy.
Six houses of worship in six different cities, each with its own way of honoring the Sabbath. (3 minutes)

Commandment Five. Honor Your Father And Your Mother.
When Jack Hitt was 11, he did the worst thing his father could have imagined. Neither Jack nor his four siblings will ever forget the punishment. (6 minutes)

Commandment Six. You Shall Not Murder.
TAL producer Alex Blumberg talks to Lt. Col. Lyn Brown, a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain who served two tours in Iraq. Brown talks about what "thou shall not kill" means to soldiers on the battlefield. (8 minutes)

Commandment Seven. You Shall Not Commit Adultery.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says that looking lustfully at a woman is like committing adultery in your heart. Contributor David Ellis Dickerson was raised as an evangelical Christian, and for many years tried not to have a single lustful thought. (9 minutes)

Commandment Eight. You Shall Not Steal.
Ira talks to a waiter named Hassan at Liebman's Deli in the Bronx about some audacious thefts he's witnessed in his years in the restaurant business. (3 minutes)

Commandment Nine. You Shall Not Bear False Witness.
Chaya Lipschutz wanted to donate one of her kidneys to a stranger. But to save a stranger's life, she had to break the commandment against lying. And the person she had to lie to was her mother. Chaya talked to TAL producer Sarah Koenig. (8 minutes)

Commandment Ten. You Shall Not Covet.
Ira talks to seventh-graders about the things they covet most. (4 minutes)


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