Ki Tetzeh 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Ki Tetzeh Elul 9, 5760 September 9, 2000

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.

Over twenty years ago, when Lillian was preparing to test for Black Belt, she was having trouble with the breaking requirement. (Sound familiar, anyone?) At 4 10 and weighing in under 100lbs soaking wet, it was understandable& but not excusable. She had to do the breaks. After all, she was going to be the first woman Black Belt in Tora Dojo and it wouldn t look good if exceptions were made.

I d say, Imagine the roots, imagine bringing energy up from the earth and down from the heavens . Imagine sending it through you and out to the boards and stones!

One day, at the height of frustration, she exclaimed, What! Are you telling me that this is all imagination? YES! I answered. She began to look at it differently, after that. She was an actress. She was good at imagining. She opened up her mind to a new reality and guarded against the doubts that naturally enter the mind when you look at and want to go throughsix slabs of concrete or five inches of wood. And she succeeded.

This week s Parsha ends with the well-known injunction to wipe out the remembrance of Amalek. We ve been at war with many countries and tribes. What is unique about them?

Amalek attacked from behind, going after the weak and feeble first. Moreover, at the time, the Jews were in the desert. There was nothing for Amalek to gain from the attack. The Rabbis viewed Amalek as a people who believed in nothing and wanted to shake the Jewish people s belief in Hashem. They point out that Amalek has the same gematria as safekor doubt.

Rabbi Tzadok Hakohen from Lublin wrote that we should view Amalek not only as a people but also as a quality that all human beings might have. Doubting things in life is normal when the doubt is reasonable and honest. Doubting as a way of denying belief in anything is not. We see this sort of behavior in the cynic. The cynic believes in nothing and just wants to shake the belief that others have by arguing against anything meaningful or sacred.

This was Amalek. The injunction to blot out the remembrance of Amalek, then, could be seen also as a statement to all of us. It warns us to blot out the remembrance of that kind of attitude that keeps us from opening our minds and hearts to greater realities, to Hashem and to His light that fills us and surrounds us.

We can see this in everyday life. We may do the Mitzvot, but we are cynical about Hashem s active involvement in our lives (Hashgacha Pratit). We are cynical about the possible success of drawing closer to Him through deep meditation. We are cynical about being able to touch His light and use it to sweeten the world& and even to help break a concrete slab or two, thereby inspiring another student to reach his/her potential. Thus cynicism becomes a major barrier to the Jewish peaceful warrior s goals.

I ve also seen another more benign variety of this cynicism. Students (and I m sorry to say, Jewish students are more guilty of this) who are very sincere ask endless questions whose answers are way beyond their readiness to understand and they use this approach as a way of avoiding the inevitable hard work needed to get there. They probably learned that method in school by asking teachers irrelevant, theoretical questions to keep peripheral discussions going to avoid real schoolwork. But there is no substitute teacher to snow in a Dojo. In martial arts the method is simple: Work hard. Ask pertinent questions, listen to and absorb the answers. Work hard.

Another Mitzvah in this Parsha is to build a fence around the roof of your house to prevent an accident. One Chassidic Rabbi taught that your roof is really your thoughts . Be careful up there in your thoughts to prevent negative thought patterns, cynicism and endless doubts. Make a guard-rail. Learn to discipline your mind and direct it toward positive things.

Lillian learned how to remove the natural doubts we all have about doing seemingly impossible things. She suspended her disbelief (as we say in theatre) and disciplined her mind to allow the energy to flow and the stones to break. She blotted out the remembrance of doubt (Amalek) in her consciousness and kept rooted to the light.

"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.

© 2000 Michael Andron - All rights reserved.