Kedoshim 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Kedoshim 1st Iyar, 5760 May 6, 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.

In the beginning of the Parsha we read: “Be holy because I, Hashem, am holy.” (VaYikra 19:2)

How do we live up to that! OK, we can fathom Hashem being holy because He is so far and above anything we experience in the physical world. But what about us being holy? Judaism doesn’t recommend our withdrawing from society and living in a cave in the mountains in long robes, chanting and meditating all day. It doesn’t want us to spend our entire lives in a room studying either. The Jewish approach recommends that we live life and enjoy the blessings that Hashem gave us in this life. We are not monks, living an ascetic existence apart from the world.

And yet, when we think about being “holy”, it seems like we would have to spend all day learning and fulfilling rituals without a moment for the more “mundane” affairs of the world. When would we find time for making a living, falling in love, raising a family, paying the bills, going for a walk on the beach, doing karate?

The key to understanding what Hashem wants us for us is found, I believe, in the Hebrew word for holykadosh. The meaning of kadosh (the root of kodesh, kiddush, kaddish, kiddushin, etc) is to be separate from the mundane. When we say havdala on Saturday night to end Shabbat, we say l’havdil bein kodesh l’chol” or “to separate the holy from the secular”. To differentiate the top of the ladder from the sand (chol) on which it stands.

This brings us back to the discussion we had earlier in the year about Jacob’s ladder. Hashem wants us to be a ladder, with our feet rooted in the earth and our heads reaching for the heavens. We must live life fully, enjoying Hashem’s gifts to humanity, but also remembering where those gifts came from.

Moreover, Hashem, by giving us the Torah, has provided a system of self-discipline to make sure we remember all of that. For example, we should enjoy our food but, through kashrut and the blessings we make before and after meals, we must remember that the Hashem, at the “top of the ladder” is the source of that bounty. Just last week we read about the self-discipline necessary in sexual relationships. Hashem wants us to enjoy that blessing too but within the Torah parameters.

Is it possible to live that way with our “psycho-physical self” rooted to the material world and our “psycho-spiritual self” reaching the heavens? Is it possible, as my teacher often said, “to be in the world but not OF it?

It is possible but it takes work. And one of the great by-products of it is that we will also be able to deal with life’s problems more effectively because we see them in a different way.

C. G. Jung, the eminent psychologist provides some insight into the problem in his commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese book of life and meditation. He writes:

“I have often seen individuals who simply outgrew a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, as I called it previously, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through the widening of his view, the insoluble problem, lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out in contrast to a new and stronger life-tendency. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so became different itself. What, on a lower level, had led to the wildest conflicts and emotions full of panic, viewed from the higher level of the personality, now seemed like a storm in the valley seen from a high mountain top. This does not mean that the thunderstorm is robbed of its reality; it means that instead of being in it, one is now above it.”

TaShih’s original inspiration of Tora Dojo is the perfect example of this. As we all know, martial arts can be done on the lowest level possible: street fighting, training of bullies, fighting for trophy winning and not to achieve an outer, as well as an inner, perfection of mind and body.

TaShih not only teaches martial arts on the highest level but adds a Jewish spiritual dimension to it as well. Rooted to the earth but with its head reaching for the heavens.

The very fact that you are practicing Tora Dojo or reading this Tora-Torah is an indication of your operating from a “higher” position on the mountain.

If we could practice Tora Dojo karate that way, it would leave only one more thing to do: practice living the rest of our lives, and practicing our Judaism, that way too.

"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