Pinchas 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Pinchas Tammuz 19, 5760 July 22, 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.

At the end of last week’s Parsha, Pinchas (the grandson of Aaron, who is said to share a soul with Elijah the prophet) acted zealously and killed two sinners who violated the holiness of the Mishkan and of relationships in general.

After his zealous act, he gets “peace” as a gift. “Hinenei notayn lo et briti shalom” “Behold I give him a covenant of peace.” I don’t want to discuss the right or wrong of his action or even why he did it. Rather, I started thinking about the idea of action (even the zealous act of killing two people) followed by peace. After the zealous act, the peace.

It reminded me of a Zen saying: After the ecstasy, the laundry. In that brief aphorism, one must come back from deep meditation to reality (such as it is) and deal with the day to day challenges of living life. After the “high” of deep meditation by the soul, it can be difficult to come back and deal with the physical stuff. The Zen saying urges the importance of doing just that.

At first glance, it seems that the two statements or ideas are contradictory. The Zen saying says, “after the high of inner peace, come back to earth”. The other says, “after dealing with the physical necessities, then comes the peace”.

So which is it? Both!

We must act with energy and enthusiasm in whatever we do. That action can and should be followed by a period of sitting reflection and peaceful meditation. After that meditative sorting out we must return to our day-to-day activities with enthusiasm. But we must be touched by the inner peace we experienced and we must come back changed. What we have learned in those moments of reflection should guide us to act more sensibly and appropriately in the future. We must learn from those moments of peace and re-orient ourselves to a correct, Hashem-centered path. Using the first prayers of the day (Shacharit) and the final prayers of the day (Maariv) would be a good place to start.

This is another way of saying: yield-energize-sweeten, the Baal Shem Tov’s methodology of the faithful servant. Submit to Hashem, reach and touch as “high” as we can in the spiritual world and then bring that light back and help remove the veils and sweeten existence a bit by our thoughts, words and actions.

By the way, the “physics and the metaphysics” agree on this point. In research published in the early sixties, Dr. Andrija Puharich, M.D., studied many groups that practiced meditation and discovered the deepest meditative states follow the most vigorous action/breathing exercises. The Sufis whirl, the Chassidim sing and dance, the shamans move in complex rhythmic movement, the yogi masters flow from posture to posture and the martial artists do vigorous Kata… and then all drop into deep meditative states. The deepest cholinergic (parasympathetic) states follow the highest adrenergic (sympathetic) states.

So work out (and live) with great enthusiasm. Then sit and reflect and seek that inner peace and connection to Hashem. Then get up and sweeten the world with how you live day-to-day.

Ah, the way of the Jewish peaceful warrior.

"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.