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10 Facts

10 Facts About the Tablets

Our sages have revealed to us that the tablets were made of Sapphire and would have weighed a half a ton, but since the letters engraved on them were spiritual, they were easy to carry

10 Facts About the Tablets

1.    The Ten Commandments were written on stone tablets and were given to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai.

2.    Only 49 days had passed from the time the Jews left Egypt to when they received the Tablets. Today we commemorate these days on the counting of the Omer.

3.    The Tablets were actually given twice; so there were 4 tablets in total. The first set was given to Moshe after 40 days on Mount Sinai, but when he came down from the mountain and saw the golden calf, he decided to break it. This event took place of the 17th of Tamuz.

4.    Moshe received the second set on Yom Kippur, after G-d had forgiven the people of Israel for the sin of the golden calf. Both sets of tablets were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant.

5.    The tablets are described as ‘stone tablets’ in Scriptures, and the Gemara gives a detailed description of their shape: Each tablet was 6 Tfachim (approx 3.5 inches) by 6 Tfachim, by 3 Tfachim, creating a cube–like shape, equal on all sides.

6.    As mentioned above, according to the Sages, the tablets were square shaped. However, there’s a common misconception of the tablets being rounded on top. The origin of this idea probably comes from the paintings of Christian artists or Christian typesetters who printed the covers of holy books with the tablets in a rounded way.

7.    It is customarily said that there are five commandments engraved on each tablet; but there are various opinions among the sages; 10 commandments on each side, making it 20 in total, and also 40 on each tablet.

8.    Our sages have revealed to us that the tablets were made of Sapphire. If that were the case, they would have weighed a half a ton, but since the letters engraved on them were spiritual, they were easy to carry.

9.    Several miracles were performed with the Tablets. The letters were engraved from side to side, and yet you were still able to read them from both directions.

10.  Since the letters were hollow, the space that was in the closed letters (mem and samech) was suspended in a miraculous way even though it was made of stone.