Re’eh 5761

Tora - Torah

Parshat Re’eh 29 Av, 5761 August 18, 2001

Something Old:
To review last year’s Tora-Torah for Re’eh just click’eh.htm
Something New:

The famous test of the Shaolin Monk on the last stage of his “graduation” exam was that he had to pass through a series of rooms that were booby-trapped. His goal was to defend against all the swords, flying spears and obstacles the masters put there. Before he got to the last room with the 500lb. cauldron of burning coals (that he had to move to get to the exit, thereby forever “branding” his forearms with the tiger and dragon of Shaolin), he came to a hall with every known weapon hanging on the walls. Even farm tools (shovel, pitchfork, etc.) were hanging there. The floor of the next room was filled with snakes and scorpions. He had to pass that room safely in order to get to the end of the test. Which weapon was the best for this penultimate (“next to last”… good word for S.A.T.’s) challenge? Was it a sword, a spear, a chain?

The solution for the Shaolin monk was to be in the moment… to realize where he was and what the challenge was in that room. All the years of spear and swordplay were of no value here. If he could overcome ego, arrogance or fear, he would realize what the best choice was. Wisely, he chose the shovel and cleared one footstep’s worth of scorpions at a time and took a step. Then another shovel full, then another step. One step at a time. It all had to do with making a choice in the moment. It turned out to be the choice of life or death for the monk.

The Parsha starts with Moshe telling the people (Re’eh), look here; I place (No’tayn) before you today a blessing and a curse. (Deut. 11; 26) What is implied here, is that man has a choice to do good or to do bad. The correct choice is in our hands. One choice will lead to a blessing and the other to a curse.

Rabbi Raab observes that Moshe uses the present form No’tayn, “I place”, and not the past tense, Nattan “I placed”, which would have been more appropriate since he had given the laws a long time previously. The Vilna Gaon explains that this teaches us that the choice is in our hands every day. It is an on-going process. People may have chosen the wrong type of life style because of various conditions in their lives. This does not mean, however, that they must continue in that way. Every day the choice is yours to change your ways and live a different type of life.

The key for both choices is to be in the present time with full knowledge (of Torah wisdom and “Tora” strategy) and choose from one’s center and from one’s heart.

"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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