October 2, 2017, Judea, Israel
We are constantly reminded, be kind to the foreigner and the stranger in your midst for you were once a foreigner in the land of Egypt. Now the Exodus from Egypt took place about 3,500 years ago and we have been reminded, on a daily basis, ever since: Be kind to those in a weaker position, do not become the bully.
Too often we become that which we fought against.
Rome. Rome represents the ultimate Evil. Yes I know that today people love to visit Rome, sadly even Israelis. They marvel at the "culture", the arches, and the Colosseum. But Rome was evil and in our Talmudic writings the name Rome is the symbol of evil. The Roman Empire enslaved other nations, took their sons and daughters as slaves, stole their riches and occupied their lands., took the warriors of defeated nations and used them for entertainment, fighting to the death as gladiators for the pleasure of the Roman spectators, pitted man against his brother, and man against beast. Rome, they took defeated leaders (with perhaps very few exceptions) and paraded them around the streets of Rome before ritually murdering them in public for the delight of all. The evil of Rome stands for eternity.
Nation after nation resisted Rome but nearly all failed. The Britons, The Dacians, The Judeans and the Germans. Caratacus of Britain and Decebalus of Dacia led resistance movements. Bar Cochba of Judea beat back Rome for three and a half years. Queen Budicca of the British Celts led a major rebellion against Rome; all for the sake of Freedom and Independence.
But many centuries later Britain itself becomes a great empire, enslaves other people's, exploits their lands and denies freedom. It was once said that the sun never sets on the British Empire, it was so vast.
The great leader Arminius of the Germanic barbarian tribes defeated the Romans and stopped their expansion into Germania. But as the victorious Arminius became too ambitious and had dreams of himself becoming king and unifying the Germanic tribes his own men killed him. Be careful not to become that which you fought against. Be careful not to become that which you despise.
All those who resisted Rome go down in history as great leaders and warriors, men and women to be admired. But we must be careful never to become that which we fought against. At the 2,000th anniversary of the victory of Arminius the German government chose not to mark the occasion for fear of evoking overly nationalistic feelings reminiscent of the Third Reich.
There was a timid devout yeshiva (Rabbinical) student in Brooklyn. He was being bullied and mocked by Gentiles for his "quaint" religious outfit. Eventually he had had enough and began his training. He trained in martial arts, boxing and took up body building. Eventually he became a true bad ass tough guy and no one messed with him anymore. But he was no longer the same person.
In this process he lost himself. He no longer was a devout Jew, he no longer dressed as a Jew. He was covered with tattoos and sported cut-off shirts displaying is muscular body. He was now the kind of person he used to fear.
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, remember that you were oppressed and weak, remember you were a stranger in a strange land. Remember.
Do not become that which you hate.
When we train in Krav Maga it is not to become a "Bad Ass Tough Guy". We do not want to become the thug that we fear. People tell me I do not look tough and do not act scary. This makes me happy.
Be careful what you become. Remember your true nature.
Walk softly but carry powerful weapons, and hope you never have to use them.
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