Vayigash 5761

Tora - Torah

Parshat Vayigash 11 Tevet, 5761 January 6, 2001

Something Old:
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Something New:

It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of Joseph throughout these several Parshiot. When Joseph first told his dreams to his brothers, there was no mention of Hashem; it was a very human interpretation of his own dreams with a lot of ego involved. Later on he does mention Hashem in the incident with Potifar’s wife. There is also some mention during his prison stay when he interpreted the dreams of the baker and the butler. Joseph, rather than trusting in Hashem completely, still asks the butler to help him once he is free. Finally, when he stands before Pharaoh, Joseph gives all credit to Hashem and his belief becomes infectious. Even Pharaoh starts talking about God. And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom is the spirit of God?” As one Rabbi puts it Joseph was not changed by Egypt, Egypt was changed by Joseph.

One sentence in particular strikes me. Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Remove every man from before me.” And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

Literally that verse means Take away every man from on top of me. The young Joseph of years earlier had now evolved to the point where he could speak totally from the heart with no fear or pride or ego (all involving the power of other human beings over him) distorting his true message. His words to his brothers have frequent mention of Hashem’s plan for him and the brothers and the Jewish people.

I believe that one of the reasons that Kata (not combat) is so essential for our inner development is because the fear of “real” people is removed. When we free-style, there is always the opponent we fear or resent or believe we can overcome. When we remove the physical attackers in the Kata, we begin to see that the real battle we fight is with the fears that we have of others. Those are the “demon” attackers we fight. If we practice forms with that awareness (and that is not always easy), the Kata allows us the freedom to go inward to find the enemy.

The perfect mantra for that kind of Godwrestling is a verse in the prayer Brich Sh’may from the Zohar that we read silently before we take the Torah from the ark. Read it in English or Hebrew if the Aramaic is not clear. It is not in any man that I place my trust or in the sons of gods (angels) but in Hashem, the God in heaven for he is the God of truth.

Remove every man from before me. This statement by Joseph is an excellent thought before beginning real Kata practice.

"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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