What Was Mel Brooks Thinking?

1 08 2011


One of the most memorable parodies in modern film production is from Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part I, when the biblical figure Moses emerges from the summit of Mount Sinai carrying three graven stone tablets and drops one of them. To save face, Moses redacts the fifteen commandments and declares that he has been given ten commandments.

This raises a profound question: what would have been the “lost” five commandments? I agree with Mr. Brooks’ implication that the biblical ten commandments are insufficient for maintaining a just and compassionate society. Having the benefit of lessons learned from over two millennia of violent ideological conflict, here are my thoughts on what calls out for inclusion:

11. Thou shalt not presume to know the will of God.

12. Thou shalt not inflict torment of the body nor of the mind.

13. Thou shalt not commit rape.

14. Thou shalt not indenture or enslave.

15. Thou shalt honor the differences of outsiders.

The fifteenth commandment is a cross-cultural refinement on the Golden Rule of the Jewish sage Hillel, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation. Go and learn.”

What are your thoughts on what may have been the lost five commandments? As always, I welcome all comments.

Jason Berman

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5 responses

30 08 2011
Tracy Sear

Wonderful, Jason! The quote by Hillel, by the way, is one of my favorites. It’s now my compass.

30 08 2011
Tracy Sear

Interesting as well that not all the ancient writing made it into the Old Testament, either.

1 09 2011
M L Castellanos

Very insightful! It’s a shame both Moses and Mel didn’t consult you in a previous incarnation!!

1 09 2011
Dirk Boersma (@DirkBoersma1)

Actually I think Moses dropped them on purpose because ten is enough. The quote of Hillel is an interesting conclusion but I think there are a lot more of them in the Bible. To me the apostle Paul wrote an inspiring conclusion in his letter to the Corintians (I:13 1-13)

6 11 2014

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