April 25, 2016, Herzliya, Israel
I was with one of my students and we had to figure out how to use a certain device. He immediately went to the computer to find a video on how to handle this situation, I looked for a person with experience to guide me.
Different generations, different approaches.
I grew up before computers, before on line videos and before "search engines". When I needed to find the source for a Biblical quote I asked Ezra the janitor. He was a Jew from Yemen and knew the Five Books of Moses by heart. He was our Search Engine. When we needed to learn something we searched for a learned man.
We need guidance. We need someone older, with experience, to guide us through life, to lead by example and to share their rich experiences with us. Life is more than a simple "how to" approach. It is more than technique. There is something intangible that comes from a man of experience. As the rabbis say, there is none as wise as one with experience. And experience takes time.
This morning I read again the story of the binding of Isaac, the story of Abraham and his son Isaac. We read that....And they came to/arrived at the place of which God had spoken to him/Abraham.
I found this sentence interesting, although I have read it hundreds of times before. It says they came, they arrived at the place which God has spoken about earlier. Meaning all they knew about the place was what God had told them. They did not know what they were getting into. They had not personally researched or studied this place, this location, they just arrived "at the place of which God had spoken". That was all the knew.
They were being guided, they were being led. And they trusted God enough to follow him.
In IKI Krav Maga we call our first instructor level "Apprentice instructor". This term goes back to an earlier period, where young men became apprentice to more experience craftsmen.
You wanted to learn how to make and fix shoes? You became an apprentice to a shoe maker, you did not learn it by going on line and watching a video.
The art of being an apprentice is a time honored tradition that works. Thus our Apprentice instructors should not view themselves as full instructors, they are not ready to totally leave the nest and go out on their own, they still are learning, they still need guidance.
Becoming a master takes time, becoming an instructor takes time. We encourage questioning, and at a certain point even challenges, but first...first a student must allow the teacher to guide them.
There must be a certain degree of trust. Abraham trusted God to guide him. He reached "the place", Ha Makom in Hebrew, without knowing anything at all about it or what he was supposed to do there. God is our teacher and the role model for all teachers.
If you ever hope to reach "the place", your black belt, instructor status, etc, you must trust your teacher to guide you. Of course along the way you may ask questions, of course if something is unclear you must let your teacher know of this, but you must trust him enough to guide you. The only way to reach The Place, your desired destination, is to trust your guide, to follow and learn.
We are not speaking of blind obedience of course but if a student does not empty his cup and allow himself to learn, he will never achieve anything. If a student has no faith in his teacher's ability to guide him, he cannot progress.
And Abraham arrived at The Place, at the desired destination because he trusted his teacher, God, to lead him.
Along the way Abraham will ask many questions, he will argue with God and even negotiate with God but he will always trust God to lead him, to guide him.
We all need a Guide, even in the days of internet search engines, we still need a person we can call Teacher.
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