Miketz 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Miketz 2 Tevet 5760 December 11, 1999

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.

After all that had been done to Yoseph (Joseph), he certainly had a right to be angry and to plot revenge against his brothers. He had been stripped and thrown into a pit of snakes and scorpions, sold as a slave and, after the mishap with Potifar’s wife, thrown into jail (with a roommate named Bubba-Tut)! In his mind, no doubt all his troubles began with his brothers who were now, years later, coming to Egypt to ask for his help. Here was his chance for revenge.

While the brothers didn’t recognize Yoseph, he knew them. He could have 1), plotted revenge against them for what they had done; or 2), devised a clever test for them to help them improve their character and redeem them from the impressions left on their souls from having sold him.

Clearly the Torah tells us (and all the commentators emphasize the point) that Yoseph was a Tzadik who (as last week’s Tora-Torah discusses) stayed true to who he was. Rather than win a battle between himself and his brothers, he chose to help them learn what they needed to know.

One of the reasons Tora Dojo has never participated in the ‘karate tournament circuit’ was because TaShih, from the earliest days of the system, decided we should practice fighting ‘to learn, not to win’. Of course we should learn to use our skills to fight the best we can! Of course, if we are attacked we should use our best body-mind discipline to defend ourselves! But the lesson is still clear. The purpose of in-class sparring is to learn and not to win. This is the basis for the martial artist saying ‘thank you’ to a partner-opponent when he hits you! You thank him for showing you your weakness that allowed him to score the point. This martial arts tradition should not be done because your teacher told you that’s what you should do. It should be done sincerely because you see this as a real lesson about your weakness and you seek to improve. You are really grateful for being shown that weakness and being hit!

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone hit in free-style and then they have gotten angry or fearful… and continued to fight from that state of mind. They would usually lose or hurt someone needlessly… often themselves!

Get into the habit of thanking someone who has taught you where you had a weakness. Mitoch lo l’shma, ba l’shma. In time, you will feel neither anger nor fear and really learn some valuable lessons about yourself.

In our Parsha, Yoseph could have ‘fought’ to win by seeking revenge against his brothers. He chose rather to learn… and to teach. Lilmod u’le’lamed. This is a wonderful model for us in Tora Dojo.

"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 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.
© 1999 Michael Andron - All rights reserved.
email: michael@kodesh.org