be careful of what you become

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; historically Rome represents the ultimate Evil. Today it is a lovely place with lovely people, and tourists love to visit Rome, even Israelis. They marvel at the "culture", the arches, and the Coliseum. But Rome was evil and in our Talmudic writings the name "Rome" is synonymous with evil. The Roman Empire attacked and enslaved other nations, took their sons and daughters as slaves, stole their riches, and occupied their ancestral lands. They took the warriors of the defeated nations and used them for brutal 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 and paraded them around the streets of Rome before ritually murdering them in public for the delight of all. In Rome, if a plot of a play called for a murder, a slave or prisoner was taken to play the part and was actually murdered in front the audience, there was no faking it.  People wanted the real thing; blood! The evil of Rome stands for eternity.

Nation after nation resisted but nearly all failed. The Britons, the Dacians, the Judeans and the  Germans. Caratacus of the Catuvellauni tribe of Britain and Decebalus of Dacia led resistance movements. Bar Kochba of Judea beat back Rome for there and a half years. Queen Budicca of the British Belts led a major rebellion against Rome; all for the sake of Freedom and Independence.

And yet many centuries later Britain itself becomes a great empire, enslaves other people's, exploits their lands, and denies them their freedom. It was once said that the sun never sets on the British Empire, it was that vast. 

The great leader Arminius of the Germanic tribes defeated the Romans and stopped their expansion into Germania. But the as 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 what 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, NY. He was bullied and mocked by Gentiles, anti-Semites for his "quaint" religious outfit. Eventually he had had enough and began his training. He trained in martial arts, boxing and body building. 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 of empowerment he lost himself. He was no longer a devout Jew; he no longer dressed as a Jew. He was covered with tattoos and sported cut-off T Shirts displaying his muscular body. He was now transformed into 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" that intimates others. We do not want to become the thug that we fear. People tell me that 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 that you never have to use them. 

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