Shemini 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Shemini 25 Adar II, 5760 April 1st, 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.

I always get nostalgic the last week in March. This year I have been particularly reflective because on Shushan Purim I celebrated my 50th birthday. This week begins my 30th year as a Black Belt. As I look back, I recall the highs and lows of those years. The highest of the high was in finding TaShih and connecting with him. The relationship you have with your teacher impacts on all aspects of your life in ways that you can’t imagine at the beginning. There is an order to things: from master to apprentice, from teacher to student, from father to son.

Ironically, that very relationship was the source of one of the “lows” during those years too. When I received Sixth degree in 1981, Lillian, Benjamin and I left New York and moved to North Carolina. This not only changed the directions of our lives but of TaShih’s too, since he “inherited” my Brown and Black Belts in Manhattan, including Carol, his future-at-the-time soul-mate. Although that decision to move away from New York was right and destined, the way I made that decision was wrong. It was not done with a proper regard for my relationship with TaShih. I hurt him and myself too. For that gaffe so many years ago I am deeply sorry.

So what’s the Tora-Torah from all this? Well, Aaron’s sons were punished for bringing “strange fire” into the Mishkan. One of the explanations is that they did not consult their Rabbi (Moshe) before they did it. Obviously, they hadn’t read the Gemara in Eruvin (63a) about not making Halachic decisions before their teacher. It wasn’t that they made the wrong decision, the rabbis tell us. It was that they broke the order of things. The job of the Kohen was peace and wholeness and order to the universe. Aaron’s sons broke that order.

So did I. I cannot emphasize enough how that decision in 1981 impacted on my life. To all the Tora Dojo students who read this: I hope you have found a relationship to a teacher like the one I found with mine. I urge you to remember who taught you to “walk and talk” in Tora Dojo.

In this Parsha we learn about Kashrut. I once read a statement from P’ninay Ha’Chasidut in the name of R’ Yisrael of Mod’zhitz. “The Torah is like a kosher fish. It gives you its fins which are like two wings for you to fly upwards with love and awesome wonder of Hashem, and all the while it protects you with its scales, like little shields, guarding every part of you.”

If I may paraphrase: Tora Dojo, too, is like a Kosher fish. It trains you to focus your mind and to aim it upward to Hashem and also trains you to protect the lower, physical aspect of your body.

No wonder we all want to practice “Kosher Karate”.

Let me finish by congratulating Master Noah Nunberg on his promotion to Sixth Degree Black Belt. It was certainly deserved and due and I have heard the grading was awesome! May his students be blessed with years of instruction at his feet.

"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.