Vayera 5761

Tora - Torah

Parshat Vayera 2 20 Cheshvan, 5761 November 18, 2000

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Our Parsha teaches that Hashem tested Avraham ten times. In the final test of the akeda or the binding of Yitzchak, it clearly states that Ha’Elokim (not Hashem) tested Avraham. “Elokim” is the name of God as manifested in nature and represents the quality of judgement, not mercy. [In gematria, the number value of Elokim is the same as ha’Tevah, or nature]. Avraham’s inner nature was being graded. Ultimately, he succeeded. We see his success when a messenger (angel) from Hashem (not Elokim) comes to end the grading.

Ramban explains that Hashem never tests anyone who has even the slightest risk of failure. What then is the purpose of the test? The purpose of the test is to actualize hidden spiritual potentials. A person may have developed his potential to reach certain spiritual heights, but he still needs to apply his potential to a real life situation or it will never be actualized.

In Tora Dojo, we are familiar with tests. After all, for every belt we earn, we go through a test or grading. TaShih, doing more than using semantics, always pointed out that a test is a pass/fail kind of situation. He preferred the word “grading“. A grading is a way for the teacher to hold up a mirror to the student to face him/herself. The student has the opportunity to see his/her own technique, attitude and progress. The hardest things to face are our own weaknesses. Fear of failure (or success) is part of human nature.

I imagine that when we test for a belt, the “test” is about the technique. The “grading” is about our viewing our deeper potential and the veils we create in life that keep it from actualizing our full potential.

My hope is that each student pass the test and grow from the grading.

Work hard. Good luck on your next test. Learn well from your next grading.


"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. "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. You can find all past issues of "Tora-Torah" at Click "archives", "Tora-Torah" and then select the Parsha you’d like to review.
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