October 6, 2016, Maaleh Adumim, Israel
In the introduction to his classic work, "The Revolt", Irgun leader turned Prime Minister Menachem Begin of blessed memory, discusses the idea of getting used to it. He writes about his time in the Soviet prison.
"When you find the first louse on your body your whole being is revolted. But, no matter - you'll get used to it. Soon you will get used to doing without a clean shirt, and to the hundreds of lice which cover what used to be your clean underclothes. The first louse is a terrifying creature. The hundredth is an accepted neighbor. It is no longer repulsive, it is part of your existence."
I need to help out a family member with some money so I took my earnings from my recent Krav Maga tour of the USA, put it in cash and brought it home to Israel. But when I checked the exchange rate I noticed that the dollar had plummeted: all my money became worth less. (but not worthless). Naturally this was disappointing. No matter, I thought, I will wait a little while and hopefully it will go up despite America's general economic decline in recent years. And in fact it did go up, slightly. The increase was about ten percent of the recent decline but I was delighted to see an "up".
And then it hit me. I was getting used to a bad situation. Whereas only a few days ago I was deeply upset over the decline of the US dollar and the corresponding decline in my recent earnings now I am delighted over a slight increase.
Aren't we all like that?
The first crime in our midst is, as Menachem Begin wrote, "Revolting", but soon we accept it as a given. As Shimon Peres says it is no longer a problem, it is now a fact. We accept it; there are criminals among us, there are murders, rape, violent crime, that is just the way it is.
But we should never accept this. On one hand, yes, we must accept this as a given and learn how to cope with it. We must train in Krav Maga, we must install home security systems, we must become very aware. But we must also never lose hope that we can create a better society. Fact is there are plenty of poor societies where crime is practically unknown. Poverty does not necessarily lead to crime, poor values lead to crime.
In our town there are plenty of people lacking for basic food items and yet crime is practically unknown. Yet nearly every week the local yeshiva students, young Bible scholars, go door to door asking for food donations, a can of corn, a bottle of oil, which the rabbis distribute to the needy.
The needy turn to the community for help, they do not turn to crime.
So while we acknowledge that crime is a given we must not give in to it. We must fight back, in every way that we can. We must never "get used to it".
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