Tzav 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Tzav 18 Adar II, 5760 March 25, 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.

A little Parsha; A little Purim.

This Parsha begins with a command to the Kohanim. The use of the word “Tzav” or “command”,  causes many questions by our teachers. Rashi tells us it is a term denoting zeruz, that Aaron and his sons should be zealous and enthusiastic about this job “now and for all generations”. If Hashem commanded it, wouldn’t we expect Aaron to be zealous? Of course we would. But what about for all generations? For that we need the command by Hashem.

For example: You practice your Kata the day of the grading for your belt. But what about the day after? And the day after that?

The two opening commandments in this Parsha are for the Kohen to take out the daily ashes and to keep the fire burning on the altar. The Sefer HaChinuch points out in this second mitzvah: [Commandment 132] To burn fire on the altar every day regularly. In elucidation our Sages of blessed memory said: “Although fire would descend from heaven, it was a religious duty to bring common [earthly] fire.”

In the world of the Mishkan and Temple, Hashem supplied the heavenly fire and the Kohen had to contribute his own fire.

In the world of martial arts, your Sifu and, of course TaShih, provide the inspiration but you have to supply the daily fire! And that means taking out the “ashes” of laziness, ego, arrogance and, well, laziness (again!).

And in my never-ending search for Tora-Torah insights, let me relate this to Purim.

These next few paragraphs are a very short version of a longer lesson. Purim is the last rung on the holy-day ladder for reaching a state of Godwrestler consciousness. Let’s start at the bottom of the ladder and work our way up… from white belt to black.

Prior to and during the first holiday of the year, Pesach, we remove the ego-chametz and leave the “narrow” thinking of Egypt/Mitzraim (which means narrows) behind.

Next after seven weeks of practice, we receive the fundamental discipline of body/mind to practice. Hashem says, “Go practice on our own for a while!”  We do. Until Rosh Hashanah.

Then we have a pre-test to see how we are doing. The scales of Tishrei/ Libra weigh our successes and failures. Rosh Hashanah challenges us to Godwrestle at a deeper level. We still need help in blasting away the crust and veils around the soul. Hence the shofar.

Rosh Hashanah also provides us with the methodology for going deeper: Just remember Y.E.S.! Remember the Baal Shem Tov’s method that we introduced in Parshat Va’yera”? Yield, energize and share/sweeten. In Rosh Hashanah terms, we call that T’shuva, T’fila and T’zedaka.

T’shuva is turning from the ego to something more important. T’filla is our method for meditation and entering/energizing and embracing some higher energy. T’zedaka is right action to sweeten the world. All this provides the balance that Libra/Tishrei demands.

Yom Kippur, known as Yom Kippurim (a day that pales in the light of Purim) is a time to focus on the chata’im, the sins or how we have “missed the mark” in day-to day living. Hashem is already forgiving all the other “misses” relating to him. Most of the 44 sins in Al Chet are about the sweetening phase, the interpersonal actions we take (lashon hara, rchilut, etc.) to enrich our lives and sweeten the world.

The next holiday is Sukkot. As we symbolically hold the lulav, etrog, hadas and arav together, we unify all parts of our “self”: body, heart, mind/eye and expression, based on the shapes of each of the four “minim. In Tora Dojo terms, we have to unify stance, Kavana, focus and breath as we “sequence” the Qi-energy to its fullest potential. In addition, the “consciousness” aspect of sitting in the Sukkah itself is found in recognizing the fragile nature of our physical selves while gazing upward in the Sukkah (or, perhaps, gazing deeper inwardly).

Chanukah: Further discovering the light within us and a re-dedication of that light in the middle of the darkness of winter… followed by…

Purim is the time when we remove the masks and see there are no coincidences. We see the divine plan in life and we see the divine spark in all beings. We can’t even tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai; the sparks of each are divine… but the shells are not!

Perhaps with some effort, we can have that peak/peek moment. But what happens after Purim is over? Our egos come back and we need to deal with the chametz all over again, hopefully at a higher level. The cycle of improving and deepening ourselves each year as the cycle repeats itself brings us back to the Parsha.

So! All you peaceful warriors of Tora Dojo out there! If you’re going to be your own Kohen (see last week’s Tora Torah) then continue to take out your ashes (removing the old veils) and continue to keep the fire burning by adding your own fire to it every day.

In other words, you need a “get”!

What? A Kohen with a “get”?


GET QUIET! (“Be still and know that I am Hashem”. Psalms)
GET MOVING! (it takes self discipline to get somewhere… work out your body and soul every day)
GET ALONG! (with each other, that is.)

Be a Godwrestler. Be a mentch. And have a beautiful Purim.

"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.