Another Chance
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

October 10, 2018, Königsbach-Stein, Germany

This week we prepare to read the Torah portion of Noah. Last week we read Beresheeth, or Genesis, the Beginning. Each year we complete the reading of the holy Torah and then we begin again.

 אֵלֶּה, תּוֹלְדֹת נֹחַ--נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה, בְּדֹרֹתָיו:  אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, הִתְהַלֶּךְ-נֹחַ.

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.

...And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

And God said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  (Genesis Chapter 6)

We do not try another book, we do not say, Well, we have already done this, been there, read that, time for something new. Those are the words of losers, those are the words of the ADD, the attention deficit. For we realize that only by reading it again, by studying it again, do we get closer to its true meanings and hidden messages. 

So we begin again, at the beginning...

I am currently in Königsbach-Stein,  a small town in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine. We have gathered here for our annual IKI Krav Maga Seminar and participants have joined us from all over Europe. We understand that it is not a matter of " the new" but of understanding the older material better and applying it to our lives. It is a matter of understanding the foundations better, not a matter of searching for something new and exciting. 

And suddenly it occurred to me that this very message is contained in the Torah story of Noah.  

Each year we read the same story and each year we continue our lives and make the same mistakes.

God sees mankind and is greatly disappointed. God thinks perhaps the entire idea of man was a mistake, but really it is man who makes his choices, and his mistakes. it is God who gives us the opportunities. 

So each year we read again how man has corrupted the earth and wasted the gifts of God. We must read it again to be reminded that each year and each generation we have a choice; it is in our hands to correct the evil mistakes of the generation of the flood the generation that God had to destroy.

And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

Man had turned against his brother. The world was filled with evil. 

Here in Germany I cannot but be reminded of the time, not so long ago, when again man corrupted his ways. But this time it was not God who brought a flood upon the earth, but man. Man brought upon the earth a flood, not of water but of bombs, missiles, rockets, bullets and mass destruction. From the heavens came not rain but fire and metal. Cities all over Europe and Asia were reduced to rubble, man was reduced to searching the rubble for food. It was the generation of the flood. Hell is a man made invention. 

And so I look around the room and I see righteous people, people who are devoted to peace, people who work to bridge the gap and correct the wrongs of the past. I see people who wave the flag of Israel in Germany, sing the Israeli national anthem in Berlin, support Israeli industries and teach and train in Israeli Krav Maga. I see a generation that says no to the past: we will not make the same mistakes of the past.

Each generation is given another chance, we read the Torah again, the same stories, we read the mistakes. As my father pointed out the Bible is not a book about perfection, it is not a book about perfect people and perfect relationships for if it were it would be totally useless and irrelevant to us. The Bible, the Torah, is about our struggles, our Mistakes! We read it again to learn more, to delve deeper, to understand better and to learn from our mistakes.

I stand in front of a group of seventy Krav Maga students and instructors, here in Germany, and suddenly a new lesson from the story of Noah appears to me, and the lessons of my dear father guide me to new understandings.

We will not make the mistakes of the past, we will take advantage of this opportunity that we have been given. We will be the Noah of our generation. Each and every one of us can be the change that we want in society. 

Noah did not become Noah by being a political leader or by demanding massive change in society, he did it by being Noah, a good man. He did it by living his life as a good man. He did it by making small changes in his own life.

Each day we can make the world a better place and as Anne Frank said, the great news is we do not have to wait, we can begin right away. 

Post note:

Editing the blog at breakfast, October 11, a German gentleman asks me if I am from Israel. Well, yes, We begin a conversation. His name is Werner. He tells me that he has been to Israel several times, for business. 

He is very interesting in talking. Soon he amazes me with his knowledge of Jewish history in Germany, things I would not imagine that a non Jewish person would know about. He tells about the new Jewish communities emerging in Germany and how he hopes to see a revival of Jewish life in Germany. "We need it" he says. 

I am amazed by these thoughts, he wants to see a community of half a million Jews in Germany. 

I feel again that my peace plan, one cup of coffee at a time, is making a difference. Two people talking over coffee, and may the floods of the world settle and may the earth be filled with many men like Noah. 

IKI European conference 2018,under the guidance of Jurgen Kohler.

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