Vayikra 5760

Tora - Torah

Parshat Vayikra 11 Adar II, 5760 March 18, 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.

As we begin the third book of the five books of Moshe (Moses), a question arises. This book, Vayikra, is known as the “Torah for the Kohanim”. And so it would seem to be. It is a book filled with instructions about the dedication of the Mishkan (for the second time… with a third re-telling coming up in Bamidbar) and detailed information about the “how, when and what” of sacrifices to be brought in the Mishkan and later in the Temple.

What is the use of this information for the rest of us? Why not just put this all in a separate book for the Kohanim and only have what all of B’nai Yisrael needs in the Torah?

The most obvious answer is that we are all “a holy nation and a kingdom of priests-Kohanim”. In Shemot we learned that every Jewish person (Kohen, Levi or Yisrael) is a Kohen for the rest of the world. So just as the Kohen has a specific job for the Jewish people, each of us has a job for the rest of the world to help it evolve. So if we are all “Kohanim to the world”, how are we to use what is in this book of the Torah and Parsha?

The answer can be found in one of the other jobs of the Kohen that is described in Devarim 17:8-11. We are told there that if we have a question concerning a case about when something is pure or impure, guilty or innocent, we should go to the Kohen and he will sort it out. Why not go to the judges? What can the Kohen do in these cases that the judge can’t?

The primary job of the Kohen is to bring peace. In Hebrew, that is “shalom”, from the root “shalem”, which means wholeness. Shlemut (the noun for wholeness) means that all the parts fit together in harmony as part of the whole.

Aaron was the prototype. We probably know the famous story of how Aaron would solve problems in a dispute between two parties: he would tell each: ”You know your friend is truly sorry and regrets what he did but he is too embarrassed to apologize. So he sent me to you to ask for forgiveness.” When the parties would meet, they would hug each other and renew their friendship.

The Kohen’s job (with Aaron as the prototype) was to show how all sides could exist in harmony.

The world is filled with ideas and events that don’t seem to be able to work together. How do we live in this divided, contradictory world? The Torah says that we should go to the Kohen who will show how it all can co-exist in harmony as part of Hashem’s “master plan” for the universe.

Since the dedication of the Mishkan is repeated three times, let me suggest that perhaps one is for the Mishkan itself, one is for our role as the Kohanim to the world, and one is for each of us as “Kohen to ourselves”, to our own inner world or microcosm.

All of us have contradictory ideas and emotions within us. We have impurities. We have fears. We have anger. We have jealousies. All of these “energies” within us are part of the “whole” that is us. How do we find inner peace and harmony? We go to the Kohen within. How?

Tora Dojo is a perfect tool to help. It helps us deal with the Yin and Yang (darkness and light, good and evil, purity and impurity) ideas and feelings that exist within each of us. We come to an understanding of these ideas and feelings and seek inner peace.

The Baal Shem Tov taught that if you are in deep prayer and a strange thought pops into your head not to dismiss it angrily (because it ruined your meditation). Rather you should understand that the thought appeared in your mind in order to be dealt with. You should see the strange idea as a shell around a spark of truth that our soul and Hashem wanted us to discover. All those inner thoughts and fears make us who we are!

If we aim our Kavana-trained mind at these strange feelings and ideas, we will see their importance for our growth. This will help to “remove the veils” and lead us to a greater understanding about who we are and what our job is.

It will help show us how we are each part of the grand “master plan” or, rather, the “Grand-master” plan for each of us. After all, if we are each a Kohen to ourselves, we are also each a grand-master-Sifu to ourselves, each trying to come to the surface and teach our favorite student.

And when the student is ready, THAT grand-master will appear. Practice in peace, with patience and perseverance.

"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