V’zot Ha’Bracha

Tora - Torah

Parshat V’zot HaBracha 22 Tishrei, 5761 October 21, 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.

On this special Shabbat we reach the end of the holy-day season and we read Moshe’s final blessing to Israel. We immediately begin to read the Torah again from the beginning. Moshe was the greatest of all the prophets for, by receiving the Torah from Hashem and teaching it to the Jewish people, he opened our hearts and eyes and minds to deeper levels of insight and understanding… and action.

In the final verses of the Torah, we read: “Never again has there risen in Israel a prophet whom Hashem had known face to face, as evidenced… by all the strong hand and awesome power (teaching, light) that Moshe did before (or to) the eyes of all Israel.”

In Hebrew, the word l’aynay in this last verse seems to say, “what Moshe did TO the eyes of Israel”. Many Chassidic Rabbis point out that Moshe’s awesome power was in opening the eyes of others. Understanding of the Torah depends on the “eyes” of the one studying. The greater the power of our “eyes”, the deeper the messages and lessons we can learn. Moshe’s greatness was to develop the sight of the people to see more deeply. The mightiest acts Moshe performed were the ones he performed to (l’aynay) the eyes of the people.

V’zot HaBracha… “and this is the blessing”. As we complete this whole-year cycle of Tora-Torah, it is proper to acknowledge the one person who opened all our eyes to realities, talents, inner abilities and wisdom we might never have encountered otherwise, Grand Master H. I. Sober, TaShih.

In the microcosm of Tora Dojo, he is the “prophet” who opened our eyes. When I first began studying Tora Dojo, I can honestly say from the first day I sensed this greatness. It extended beyond his martial arts skills. We have all benefited and grown from his teachings, his awesome demonstrations, his ability, and his humor.

Unlike many of the world’s religions, our Jewish role models in the Torah all have their imperfections. No one is perfect. But our Patriarchs and Matriarchs reached their levels of greatness because, in the service of Hashem, they rose above their human frailties and failings (whatever those were) and fulfilled their missions. In fact, their flaws have always made them seem so much closer and have made their levels of achievement more accessible (not easily!) for us.

TaShih’s greatness has always been to inspire each of us to rise above our mundane human-ness and failings and strive for greatness. He pushed us and led us and challenged us. And make no mistake about it! He has grown along with us and with Tora Dojo to become the remarkable Grand Master he is.

His health almost took him from us several times. We almost lost him. V’zot HaBracha. And that is the blessing…our blessing! Hashem has granted him long life, loving family and thousands of students who, long after we are all gone, will carry on his teachings and keep Tora Dojo alive for generations to come.

Take a moment to acknowledge our teacher as we begin a new year, a new cycle of learning and growth. Every student and teacher (whether they are white belts, Sensei, Shih-Gung, Shih-fu, Shih-mu, or Lao-Shih) must know where they came from in order to know where they are going. Remember where you came from. Remember who you are.

Practice in peace, with patience and perseverance. Keep your eyes open. It’s been said: “You don’t have to hurry if you’re going the right way”.

Chag Same’ach.

"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 michael@kodesh.org. 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.
email: michael@kodesh.org