Ki Tavo 5761

Tora - Torah

Parshat Ki Tavo 20 Elul, 5761 September 8, 2001

Something Old:
To review last year’s Tora-Torah for Ki Tavo just click tavo.htm
Something New:

Rabbi Menachem Raab writes: Towards the end of this portion we read what is known as the tochacha or “admonitions”. This describes the terrible misfortunes that will befall our people if we abandon the Torah. Unfortunately, these horrible predictions have come true to our people one time or another during the stretch of our history. The tochacha section, however, begins with good tidings and tells us that if we will listen to the voice of HASHEM and obey his commandments, then all the promised blessings will come to us and overtake us.

The strange order of the Pasuk calls for an explanation. Normally, one would say the blessings would overtake you and come upon you. The Torah says instead, “These blessings will come upon you and overtake you.” (Deut. 28:2) The order is somewhat disjointed.

The Netziv explains that people usually are rushing and hurrying, running and seeking after the great fortunes they imagine they can obtain. They do not take into account that perhaps if they stopped for a while, their fortune would catch up with them. Sometimes our destiny is close by and, if we stop for a moment, it will overtake us…

This, says the Netziv, is the meaning of the Pasuk. If you follow the dictates of the Torah, the blessings will catch up with you and you will not have to chase around looking for them. Even if you decide that you want to go looking, they will, nevertheless, pursue you and overtake you. That is why the order in the Torah is the reverse of the normal way of speaking.

When I got 2nd Degree Black Belt (in the old days, when it was still 2 out of 5 Degrees), I was on a race  with myself  to get the next form, the next technique, the next belt. Shortly after the grading (2 days!) Lillian and I got married and, within a few months, we left New York for points South. We lived there for two years before returning to New York. I have always believed that those were the most important learning years of my karate life. Why? Because I stopped worrying about new forms and belts and focused on gaining a deeper understanding of what I already “knew”.

To paraphrase the Netziv and Rabbi Raab on the Pasuk in question: “If we follow the path of the “Tora” as TaShih has blazed it, the blessing and benefits will catch up with us and overtake us”. And the Tora Dojo path involves stopping from time to time to seek a deeper understanding of self.

Isn’t Rosh Hashanah a perfect time to stop and “weigh in”, to see where we are, how far we have come and how far we have to go? Maybe that’s another reason why the mazal, or Jewish astrological sign, for Tishrei is the scale of justice!

"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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