Nitzavim-Vayelech 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech Elul 23, 5760 September 23, 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.

As a young child in yeshiva, we had to learn the names of each Parsha in the Torah and the order of all the Parshiot as well. The teachers would sometimes give us little helpful tricks to remember some of the sequences. Probably the most famous trick to recall the sequence of Parsha names is near the end of the book of VaYikra. Three of the Parshiot are “Achrei Mot“, “Kedoshim” and “Emor“. The words themselves mean “After the death”, “holy” and “say”. If you read them as a sentence it could mean, “after someone dies they are said to be holy”. This is a remark one might make (tongue in cheek) after hearing the eulogy over a not-so-nice person who, at least from the speech, seemed to have been a saint! The point is that after someone dies, we tend to forget some of the unpleasant things they did but we remember the good.

This sort of hidden lesson came to mind as I read the beginning of this week’s double Parsha: Nitzavim and Vayelech. The words literally mean standing and walking, or going. My Tora Dojo mind read these two words and asked, “So which is it? Are we standing in stance (firmly rooted in a good stance) or moving in stance?”

The answer can be found in the two words that surround Nitzavim. It says Atem Nitzavim HayomYou are standing today. If Moshe is addressing the Jewish people standing before him, why say “Hayom,” today? When else would he be talking to them face to face?

My Tora-Torah answer reveals a hidden message in these words. Moshe is addressing the Godwrestlers of all generations, not just on the shore of the Jordan. He is teaching them a method for “standing” before Hashem as His servants.

You’ve now heard what Hashem wants from you. He has given you a blueprint for living life as a mentch and as a Godwrestler. Do you want to stand strong and stand up for something in your lives? The method is to live in the never-ending NOW. Hayom. This minute. Be in the present moment and live your life free of fear and anxiety. “For yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”

Tora Dojo! If you live in fear of the next move or regret of the last move, your Kata will always be off the mark. In other words, “How many moves are there in the Kata you’re doing? ONE! The ONE you are doing right now.”

Once you can stand strong (free of anger and fear) in the moment, then you are Nitzavim. Once you are Nitzavim, then you can move from that perfect centered stance and still be centered.Nitzavim… Vayelech. Stand centered in the moment. Then go and follow that path and perfect the Tao, the way of the Jewish peaceful warrior.

Incidentally, the names of the next two Parshiot hint at the long-term reward for your effort. Haazinu (=Listen deeply] and V’zot Ha’bracha [=and that is the blessing!]. You will hear and recognize the still small voice of Hashem in your lives. [Listen for that sound an instant after the shofar sounds.] And that, community of Godwrestlers, is the blessing that Hashem gives you.

Atem Nitzavim Hayom… Vayelech… Haazinu …. V’zot Habracha. Stand in the moment…. go into the world as you listen deeply for the still small voice of Hahsem…. know that this is the blessing he gives us.

As a “homework” exercise in creative memory, let me suggest you try to create a memory association of the last six Parshiot in Breishit starting with VaYetze and going through Va’y’chi. Here’s a hint. The root of the word VaYeshev (shev) not only means “sit” but also has the meaning of sitting for an extended period of time, as in meditating (see Tora-Torah for Parshat Vayera inBreishit). Be creative. Have fun and find the hidden lesson within.

"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.

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