Emor 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Emor 8th Iyar, 5760 May 13, 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.

Parshat Emor focuses largely on instructions to the Kohen, the priest. The Kohen was forbidden to come in contact, even indirectly, with a corpse other than the closest relatives. The Kohen Gadol, the high priest, was not even allowed for his parents!

Why do we all need to learn about this? Rabbi David Wolfe-Blanke, z”l, writes, based on the Chatam Sofer: Every prophet and leader is a priest according to Rambam. Every one of us affects, and thus leads in some way, everyone else. So the guidance relevant to the Kohanim is an instruction to all of us. Otherwise, the priestly laws would have been written in a separate book expressly for them.”

So what meaning does this rule of non-contact with a corpse have for each of us non-Kohanim?

As martial artists, we emphasize our role as Jewish Peaceful Warriors, as Godwrestlers. We each strive to be centered and mindful of the divinity within us and around us as often as possible.

What gets in the way to prevent us from doing this?

Fear, anger, arrogance, laziness, apathy, hatred, bigotry, egotism, sexism, elitism… to name a few possibilities.

What do all these emotions and patterns have in common? These are all “dead” ideas. They lead to a death of enthusiasm, motivation, joy and closeness to Hashem. To the martial artist, for example, laziness can lead to dullness of technique and thought. We don’t strive to be the best we can. We settle for getting by (by just getting the belt) without reaching our potential.

The most dangerous “corpse”, I believe, is inappropriate fear. Fear of success as well as fear of failure. Old, dead, fears from our past that may have been appropriate when we were little children but which still keep us paralyzed as adults.

I once had a student who was a salesman. He loved selling and worked for years to be really good at it. He was successful and happy about that success. The more successful he got, though, the more health problems he had. The more clients he landed, the worse his ulcer got. He couldn’t understand why he was suffering so. After all, he loved what he was doing. It seemed that almost every time he made a “cold call” to a new potential client, he would get severe abdominal pains.

Through meditation and hypnosis, he recalled an event (confirmed by his parents) that when he was four years old he had wandered away from his babysitter in the park. The teenage sitter was so frightened about the missing child that when he found the boy a moment later talking to a woman nearby, he grabbed the child by the shoulders and shook him violently, screaming at him at the top of his lungs, “DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS!” The boy was so traumatized that he couldn’t sleep for weeks and wouldn’t talk to anyone but his parents. Noticing this, the parents questioned and eventually discovered what had happened. They helped their son through it.

Yet years later, every time he talked to strangers… every time he made a cold call… he still had this unconscious old “program” running in his head. Even though he loved everything about his career on a conscious level, he feared talking to strangers on an unconscious level. It led to the health problems I mentioned earlier.

The good news is that through meditation, martial arts confidence building, and Qi Gung, he overcame the problem. The moral of the story: old fears, childhood fears, and “dead” fears can render us “unfit” in the present.

As Tora Dojo students (and we are all never-ending students!), we must be perpetually on guard against letting old dead ideas, feelings and thought patterns rule us. We must strive to be so well centered that when we sense the “breeze” of an old pattern throwing us off-balance, that we adjust our psycho-emotional “stance” so we don’t get blown over by it.

For the part of us that is the Kohen within, we must avoid the contamination of dead ideas.

"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