While doing some construction, workers find tablets containing the Ten Commandments at Park Extension synagogue.
It was earlier this month that a demolition crew was working on the Beth Aaron Synagogue found on Stuart Street in Park Extension. During the demolition and scheduled work planned for the location, two tablets containing the Ten Commandments were found behind a wall. This was first brought to my attention on social media in a post by local community member, Sasha M. Dyck. He had been alerted by a neighbor that the workers had found the tablets and were planning on throwing them out, not realizing just how important they might have been.
The event has been shrouded in mystery since they’re uncovering, and it has had many locals wondering why they were placed there and who placed them there in the first place?
A brief history of the Ten Commandments
Perhaps this isn’t necessary at all for most of you, but perhaps there are those out there that need a quick refresher, so here it goes: The Ten Commandments in Jewish, Christian, Orthodox and Catholic teachings, were the rules given to Moses by God in the form of a Burning Bush that his people and followers were meant to follow. These rules were written upon tablets of stone and Moses was to descend the mountain and teach his followers these rules, which in the end turned out to be much harder than initially expected.
We’ll stop there with the history and/or Theological lesson, as we hope we’ve conveyed the importance of them and this find over to you, dear readers.
But in the end, could these stone tablets actually be the original?
History of findings the world over
In the end, discoveries like these have been made the world over and many times at that. Tablets like these have been created for many churches and synagogues and in honor of the original tablets.
In reality, very much like the Holy Grail, the original tablets have been sought after by many theologians and archeologists alike, as movies like Indiana Jones have often shown us. But Hollywood action/adventure epics of the past aside, it’s very unlikely that these are the original tablets, as I was granted a look myself once my investigation got under way by workers of SPG Construction on site.
What happened … and in our very community
I was interested the minute I saw the post on social media and contacted Sasha myself. He was awesome and told me everything he could about the situation—everything he knew and even gave me updates as the week progressed. Essentially he got an inspector over there in record time, and the tablets were saved before they could be thrown out.
What happens next is up in the air, but the discovery of these tablets alone is news enough for now, and the fact that they will indeed be preserved. All that’s left to do, Sasha informed us, is to see who will take ownership of them … the synagogue, or perhaps someone else.
Oldest stone tablets sold
It was reported by CNN that in 2016, the oldest stone tablets were sold and for the whopping sum of $850,000! According to this source, the tablets were known to be the oldest in recorded history.
We doubt that these here would be sold, as they do not seem as antique as the latter tablets reported on by CNN, but they mean so much more to the members of the community, and the mystery behind them only ads to that importance.
A Journey into the synagogue
And speaking of Indiana Jones, perhaps I took a trip back to my boyhood when I entered the construction site at the Beth Aaron Synagogue on Stuart, as I was let in by the workers (2 of them), to photograph the tablets. I made my way past some pretty sketchy stairs, and yes, it was Indiana I thought about, making his way down those lost tunnels of the past. In the end, perhaps it was because I knew of the importance of these tablets that had me thinking along that line.
And it was when I saw the tablets finally, laying there amidst the rubble of a modern-day construction site, that it hit me even more. Lying there upon that littered floor lay some of the most important words or messages, according to some, ever inscribed in the history books—the message behind the words—and for so many nationalities, cultures and schools of belief.
A big thanks to Sasha, a community member that cares deeply about its roots and what happens to the historical elements of the community … an important thing to consider as society moves forward, because it’s our history that made us who we all are today.
As it stands at press time, the tablets have been moved to a local pastor’s care. The pastor stated to Sasha: “It’s not clear yet who will take them.”