Bamidbar 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Bamidbar 29th Iyar, 5760 June 3, 2000

Tora Dojo Teachers and Parents: If you share and discuss the Tora-Torah with younger students, tell it in your own words at their comprehension level rather than try to read it to them or have them read it.

We begin this book of the Torah with a description of the census of the Israelites. Each of the tribes was counted based on how many males, age 20 and up, were going out as warriors to fight. The exception to that census was the tribe of Levi which was counted from the age of one month and who were to stay in the camp. The physical layout of the camp was the Mishkan (portable tabernacle/temple) in the middle, the Levites encamped around the Mishkan and the tribes spaced around the center.

We have discussed in the past how the very shape of the Mishkan symbolically reflected man, with a Holy-of Holies soul at the center core, surrounded by a body. The layout of the encampment, likewise, is symbolic of a deeper, personal model. Here the symbolism is directly related to our theme of the Jewish Peaceful Warrior.

At the center of the camp is the Mishkan with the ark that contains the Ten Commandments and Moshe’s Torah. It is the holiest of places. It is the source of Chaim or life for the Jewish people. The faithful servants, the Levites, surround and serve the people by serving Hashem. They connect, so to speak, the holy center with the more secular exterior. Beyond that center place is the rest of B’nai Yisrael. They are counted as warriors, not farmers, doctors or accountants. Yisrael, the Godwrestler warrior, surrounds and protects the Chaim, the life, of the people.

This is also a human model. We have a spark of Hashem within us, and a warrior on the surface protecting us. What keeps the warrior centered and focused (that is, what keeps him a Jewish peaceful warrior) is the divine life force of the soul within.

Our exterior must be strong and able to fight to deal with the challenges that come from the outside. But nothing will succeed if we are not God-centered. The Mishkan in the middle is the key.

Tora Dojo is, likewise, designed to teach us to be Jewish Peaceful Warriors. The Tora (tiger) is at our gates to protect us while the Torah is at our center to inspire and guide our lives.

As I have mentioned in the past, it is so fitting that the Chaim, the inspirational life, at the center of our whole system is TaShih, whose Hebrew name is Chaim Yisrael. He created the model that we strive to emulate: the model of a Yisrael-warrior on the outside with the Chaim-Torah on the inside.

Moreover, the Levi in the camp in the desert served as the connector between the Chaim (the Torah center) and the Yisrael (exterior). How fitting that TaShih is also a Levi, fulfilling that role for the tens of thousands of us that have been part of Tora Dojo over the last 35 years.

When we are centered like the Israelites in the desert, both qualities are in perfect balance and harmony. The philosophy and practice (both!) of Tora Dojo help us do that.

Why do we always read this Parsha the Shabbat before Shavuot, the time of the giving of the Torah? In Shemot, when the Israelites came to camp to receive the Torah (and) they camped at Sinai (Shemot 19:2), Rashi says they camped “as one man with one heart. On all other occasions, there was turmoil and dissension.”

Just as we all pray that we will see a time where all Jews can “camp” or live as one man with one heart, so should we work at being whole ourselves, mastering the Warrior outside and the chaim-force beneath.

"Tora-Torah" is a weekly column on Parshat Hashavua with insights into the inner aspects of the Jewish martial arts as founded and taught by Grand Master H. I. Sober in the International Tora Dojo Martial Arts Association. The copyrighted 'Tora tiger' logo is used with permission of Prof. H. I. Sober.

"Tora-Torah" is written or edited by Michael Andron, PhD. Lao Shih, a Seventh Degree Black Belt in the Tora Dojo Association. He has been teaching Grand Master Sober's system for over 30 years.

Note that the Tora Dojo comments are highlighted in a different color. This should help teachers in their sharing Tora-Torah with younger students at their level of comprehension. If any of you would like to contribute some "Torah" from time to time, send your suggestions (keep 'em short and ... in by Sunday, please) to I'll try to keep it simple and with a good Tora Dojo lesson as well.

"Tora-Torah" is published by Kodesh, Inc. Kodesh is a non-profit organization devoted to personal growth, mind-body effectiveness training, spiritual awareness. It offers programs to help the student "alter the state of his/her consciousness" through education, experience and joyful celebration.

© 2000 Michael Andron - All rights reserved.