Vayigash 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat VaYigash 9 Tevet 5760 December 18, 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.

Three short thoughts of Tora Torah:


In order to show Yoseph (Joseph) how serious Yehudah (Judah) felt about his plea, he took an iron bar and ground it to dust between his teeth and then uttered a shout so terrifying that the heads of Pharaoh’s guards twisted sideways and stayed fixed!

Tora Dojo relates to this in two ways: first, we’ve all seen TaShih ground stone to dust in his hands… and many of the black belts and masters are pretty good at other kinds of breaking and neck twisting. Second, we have lots of dentists and chiropractors among the black belts to fix up teeth and necks when it’s all over! Ah, nothing like good Jewish Karate approaches to things.


In 44:18, the first pasuk in the Parsha, reads “va’yigash ailav Yehuda” and “Yehuda (Judah) came near” and spoke to Yoseph. Menachem Mendel of Kotzk asks why does the Torah include the extra word ‘ailav’? He answers that it refers to Yehuda himself. Yehuda drew near to himself… he cast aside his ego and, when he was himself, he was able to speak persuasively from the heart.

When you are going for a belt, demonstrating forms, doing breaks… drop delusions of grandeur or fear of failure. Draw yourself to your center… be who you truly are… and your performance will be true and a real service of the heart.


In 45:24, Yoseph cautions his brothers: “Al tirg’zu ba’derech” or ‘don’t quarrel along the way’. Rashi gives a number of literal interpretations about this referring to their travel plans or even about the brothers blaming each other about who sold Yoseph into slavery in the first place. Once again, the Kotzker Rebbe points out that the preposition letter ‘bet’ doesn’t always mean ‘in’. Sometimes it means ‘with’. Therefore he explains this pasuk as Yoseph warning his brothers that while they are heading back to tell Yaakov all that has happened: Don’t argue with the way! Be aware that all of this is part of a divine plan set before us and we are players in the process. The route is as important as the destination.

Hashem provides us with a path and guidance (messengers) to let us know what our path is. Don’t quarrel with the Tao (pronounced Dao… no relation to the stock market, O Jewish Karate students!). When we are centered enough to know the ‘way’ laid out for us, life seems to move along a lot more easily. Take time to be still and listen… and look… for the way and don’t quarrel with it. It won’t help anyway.

Shabbat Shalom

"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.
© 1999 Michael Andron - All rights reserved.