Breishit 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Breishit 28 Tishrei, 5760 October 8, 1999 Comments on the Torah Portion of the Week with Tora Dojo Insights

Shabbat Shalom!
Younger students, please ask your parents for help in understanding this lesson.

This first in a series of Tora-Torah is based on ideas in “Sparks of Light” by Rav Gideon Weitzman, essays on weekly portions based on the philosophy of Rav Kook.

In this week’s parsha, Cain and Hevel (Abel) disagree over their offerings to Hashem. Cain gave flax while Hevel’s was wool. (From this we arrive at sha’atnez, the prohibition of wearing combinations of wool and linen.)

The two had an argument according to the Midrash: They wanted to divide the world! One took the earth and the other took the possessions. (Breishit Rabba, 22:7)

They couldn’t live in harmony…they wanted to divide the earth itself from what was ‘above the earth’ …the possessions. That is, they wanted to divide the earthly, mundane, material matters from that which is above the earth; in other words, they wanted to separate the spiritual from the physical.

In the ideal world in the Garden of Eden, before Adam’s sin, the physical and spiritual were linked. After Cain killed Hevel, they were separated and the world was changed forever. Ultimately, this separation was ‘mended’ with Avraham who set the example for us to follow.

Later in the Torah we see that the Cohanim could wear wool and linen… they were our model: a link between heaven and earth… they were supposed to fuse spirituality with the mundane physical service to Hashem.

As members of Tora Dojo, we might practice the physical art alone or we might focus on the spiritual side of things. What we can learn from this parsha is that our real derech (tao) should be to fuse the two together, striving toward repair of the world (perhaps even re-claiming some of our mandate to be a light for the other nations.)

Clearly, this is not just in the practice of martial arts but in every aspect of our Jewish lives: we might say: Repair the derech, perfect the tao… let’s try to live our lives with devotion to ‘a physical discipline with a mental thrust that is spiritual’ both as Jews and martial artists.

The fusion of these two domains (the physical and the spiritual) in the service to Hashem is what being “Yisrael” (being a God-wrestler, striving towards unity in the service of Hashem WITHIN the physical world), is all about.

Practice diligently, with patience and perseverance.

"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. If any of you would like to contribute some "Torah" from time to time, send your suggestions (keep 'em short and ... in by Monday, please) to michael@kodesh.org. 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. © 2012 Michael Andron - All rights reserved. email: michael@kodesh.org