January 5, 2016, Israel
There is trouble in Europe. Again. The French Jews are coming home to Israel by the planeloads; they see the writing on the wall. In Holland there is trouble as well.
My cousin, a leading rabbi in the Netherlands, suggested, "Contact my cousin in Israel, Moshe Katz, he teaches Krav Maga."
A well meaning person responds, "We already know Krav Maga."
Do you really?
I just "love" when people say that.
I have never in my life uttered such a sentence, "I know Krav Maga". I have never uttered the words, "I know the Torah".
I have said that I know how to ride a bike, although certainly not a professional level, I am not a candidate for the Tour de France. I know how to drive a car, basic level, no Indy 500 material. But I can say "I know" in that context.
What is the difference? When I first started studying Talmud as a child I noticed, like everyone else, that the first page was page 2, or B. There is no page 1, or A. Why? We were told by the rabbi that when it comes to the study of Talmud and Torah there is no beginning and there is no end. As a child that had a powerful impact.
In addition I was baffled by the fact that the greatest honor bestowed on a Talmudic scholar is that of "Talmid chacham", or "Wise pupil/student". Surely after all those years our scholars are no longer "pupils", in fact they are teachers! When does one stop being a student?
The lesson is that even a teacher, even the greatest scholar is honored by the title Wise Student, for he remains a student and in one lifetime it is impossible to master the entire wisdom of the Torah.
Let us ponder this lesson.
When it comes to study there is no beginning and no ending. Even the greatest master is still a student, and is proud of it. Even the greatest master must remain humble and open to learning and discovering new interpretations.
Krav Maga is also wisdom, although of course not on the same footing as the Torah. The Torah stands alone. I cannot say, "I know Krav Maga". No, I train in Krav Maga; I have reached a level where my instructors have bestowed upon me the honor and responsibility of teaching Krav Maga. I remain a student, hopefully a Wise Student. New interpretations are always emerging, new questions are being asked and new situations arise all the time.
So if you are at great risk of being attacked, for example if you live in Europe, the USA, South America, or Israel, or South Africa or ...instead of saying "I know Krav Maga" (based on a brief introductory course taken years ago) it might be wiser to just get back to training.
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The story of a warrior nation, from the days of the Bible to our own times.
The unique morality and ethics of the Israeli army and its nation of warriors. The ongoing struggle for freedom.
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