Vaera 5761

Tora - Torah

Parshat Vaera 3 Shevat, 5761 January 27, 2001

Something Old:
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Something New:

In our Parsha, Moshe and Aharon (Moses and Aaron) speak to the elders and to Pharaoh and realize how difficult the situation is. Moshe tells this to Hashem who assures him that the Jewish people will be freed. Then the Torah introduces Moshe’s family tree, listing the three tribes up until Moshe. Why place this information about Moshe’s parents here?

Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that although Moshe had the potential for greatness when he was born (he radiated light), it was only when he USED that potential that he became great. Once he achieved his goal in life, only THEN was his family tree mentioned, to act as a credit to them.

In Tora Dojo (and in all Martial Arts) when teachers speak of their “Students” (capital “S”) they usually refer to those who got Black or higher. This is not an insult to the lower belts that study with them as well. If anything, it should be an incentive.

We, as teachers, believe that all students have the potential for mastery. Unfortunately, not every student uses that potential. When a student does and perseveres all the way to Black Belt, then that student proves what the teacher believed and hoped all along.

If you are an under-Black Belt, it probably would be more appropriate to say “I study with (or under) Sifu so-and-so”. After Black Belt, you can feel proud to say, “I am a student of Sifu”.

That’s why the belts reflect the flowering of the tree the white and yellow flowers, the green leaves, the purple fruit, all fall away. At brown you become a branch, part of the tree but still able to snap in a strong wind. At Black, you are connected to the roots of the tree and the earth. Your roots (on many levels) join those of your teacher.

Let all under-Black Belts resolve to work harder to reach that special place…

And let all Black Belts remember and honor the “parent” upon whose shoulders you stand.

"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.
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