Shoftim 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Shoftim Elul 2, 5760 September 2, 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.

You’re walking alone down a dark street. You hear footsteps behind you at a distance of about 50 feet. They sound ominous. You turn around and a see a street punk speeding up in your direction. He doesn’t look friendly. You begin to speed up. You hear the footsteps growing louder and louder, faster and faster. You start to jog slowly. The footsteps match yours. You look around again and he’s gaining on you. You run across the street. He follows. You spot a lit store at the end of the block. You run toward it and you can hear him trying to catch up. You run into the store and slam the door, going over to the lit area where the storekeeper is standing. You look through the window and see the “runner” looking at you with an angry look. You’re safe.

What was your first mistake?

Walking alone down the dark street.

Sometimes defensive fighting is the necessity. Sometimes, using your head in advance (in this case, avoiding the situation all together) is the smarter choice.

On a very basic level, this is true in fighting skills as well. Using intuitive skills along with combat skills will always make the better fighter. Try to sense the attack strategy before the technique is ever thrown. It’s easier to deal with the attacking technique at its “birth” then when it’s already on top of you.

This week’s Parsha begins with instructions to appoint judges and police (Law and Order). Hassidic sources teach that, aside from the obvious literal meaning of the two jobs, this parallels two levels of personal development in trying to be a Tzadik, a righteous and enlightened person.

The higher level of spiritual growth is when one senses intuitively that some negative trait is developing within oneself. By applying good intuitive intervention, one stops the negative trait before it happens. This is the strategy of a good judge. The lower level is more like the police. The negative action has already taken place and now action is taken to see its source and correct it.

If you’re trying to develop like the “judge”, however, be warned! You shouldn’t take a “shochad“, a bribe. Shochad contains the Hebrew words shehu chad, meaning “that one is alone”. If, as you work on yourself, the sense of power and control, the ego, gets the best of you, you become “blind” to your own faults and will never see the inner work that is necessary for growth.

So, create within yourself a judge and a police officer to keep watch of how you’re growing. This is good advice for outer combat and inner Godwrestling.


"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.