Va’y’chi 5761

Tora - Torah

Parshat Vayechi 18 Tevet, 5761 January 13, 2001

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The blessing that Jacob gives to Ephraim and Menashe, and each parent gives his son(s) each Shabbat, intrigues me. I wrote about it last year. Here is another observation.

According to the Midrash, these two brothers were each very different in their chosen profession or life’s path. Menashe was a businessman and man of the world and. Ephraim was a man of the spirit. Whichever path we ourselves take, we might question why our parent’s blessings each week echoes Jacob’s blessing that we each should be like both these brothers. It would seem that if we lean toward the spiritual path, our parents should bless to be like Ephraim. If we lean toward the worldly then they should bless us to be like Menashe.

The answer? I think the key to the blessing is not to be like either brother but to be like both! The key is that despite the different paths they chose, these brothers (according to the Midrash) always supported each other and helped each other all their lives!

The lesson here is not only to get along with those who are different. Of course that is so. The trick is to get all the component drives and aspects of our personalities to work harmoniously within each of us. Jacob/Israel was himself a Godwrestler with a worldly eye. (Hmm. God definition of a martial artist.)  Hashem recognized that within Jacob. Even after he named him Israel, Hashem called him by the name Jacob at a later time for a reason.

We all have different aspects to our personalities. Using and mastering the creative power of silence that we learn from the Martial Arts might allow us to understand ourselves better. Then the next step would be to harmonize those divergent strands into a beautiful tapestry.

May we each find that harmony within ourselves. May we each be like both Ephraim and Menashe.

"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.
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