September 12-13, 2021
After a brutal Krav Maga test with Sensei Itay Gil, many years ago.
"Then Moshe turned to God and said, 'Master, why did you bring such misfortune upon these people, why have you sent me? Ever since I have come to Pharaoh to speak in Your name he has afflicted this people even more and You have not saved your nation.'" (Exodus, Chapter 5, Verses 22-23)
Moshe/Moses has reached a breaking point. God has promised salvation, redemption, freedom from slavery and Egyptian bondage, but not only are things not getting better, they are becoming continuously worse. Moshe, a patient and humble man has reached a breaking point, he is frustrated and disappointed. His mission does not seem to be succeeding, the people he has come to help are suffering even more. We can feel his pain, and he lashes out at God.
And God responds..."And God the Eternal said to Moshe, now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh; he shall let them go because of a greater might, and because of this greater force he will drive them from his land." (Exodus, Chapter 6, verse 1)
What is happening here? God is saying to Moshe, you are being impatient, you are expecting immediate results, you want the mighty king of Egypt to give up without a fight, but my dear Moshe things do not work that way, they take time. It is a process, redemption is a process, but you are being impatient with me, and now you will see. Now you will see that I have been waiting for just the right moment, for timing is everything. Now you will feel my power, now you will understand the buildup and you will see that I am the greater force, the possessor of greater might. He will not only let them go, he will drive them out of his land. See back and watch.
Now God gives a little bit of background, "God spoke to Moshe and said to him, 'I am God the Eternal. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the Almighty but I did not make myself fully known to them. I established a covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land they are living in as temporary sojourners." (commentary: but I have not fully yet kept this promise, my promise was not fulfilled in their lifetime). (Exodus, Chapter 6, verses 2-4)
Here God is teaching Moshe that Redemption is a process, one must be patient, even with God himself. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not see the fulfillment of the Divine promise in their own lifetimes, but they were patient.
God continues..."I have heard the groaning of the Children of Israel whom the Egyptians are oppressing and I have remembered my covenant". (verse 5) and...I will free them from this bondage.
What we have here is clearly, a Turning Point.
For Moshe it was nearly the Breaking Point, he burst out in anger and understandable frustration; What is taking so long?!? Things are not getting better, they are only getting continuously worse. But God answers, just wait. Look at the process that begin so many years ago, trust me, I know what I am doing. Your ancestors understood this, it is a process that takes time, and now things are about to change in a dramatic way. Now it is the Turning Point and things are going to happen very fast.
What follows is the exodus from Egypt and the journey to the Land of Israel, and the rest is history.
The lesson here is eternal and for all of us. For those who believe the Torah is the word of the Living Almighty God, this is a great lesson. For those who believe the Bible is a fairy tale written up by some clever writers, well, it is a great lesson nonetheless, and those writers were blessed with profound Godly wisdom.
Where one man sees a breaking point, another see the Turning point. Business, life, relationships, weight loss, fitness, university, martial arts training, Krav Maga, it is all the same lesson. So let's take a look at Krav Maga training.
You are excited, you begin your journey, the first period is exciting as you are learning new concepts and techniques all the time. But then inevitably you will hit a plateau where the material does not seem as new, and your progress will slow down. Perhaps your black belt did not come as soon as you had hoped. In this the end of your training? Have you reached the breaking point, ready to quit?
I think back to my Brown belt test with Itay Gil. I tested for Krav Maga and for full contact kickboxing, and "free style", which today is called Mixed Martial Arts, the testing was brutal. The last part of the test consisted of 30 full-contact fights. At the end each segment of 10 seconds seemed like hours, or longer, I could barely stand, I could not kick anymore, my famous Low Kick I could not get off the ground, I was left with knees and punches. Itay shouted at me to continue, not to give up. I was totally out of gas. I was down to nothing but will power. It was clearly going to be either a Breaking Point, or a Turning Point. Honestly I recall thinking that this might be my last day in martial arts, but I wanted to go out with dignity. Pass or fail I would not disappoint and disrespect my teacher by quitting before the fights were over. I would conclude the test, no matter what. I would endure until the bitter end. This was difficult beyond imagination. I was in the best shape of my life but the fights were brutal.
This could have been my breaking point, I never came closer to giving up, I cannot even begin what it means to be so depleted, so wiped out that every second was sheer torture, but I endured, I passed, I received my brown belt, and I learned some powerful lessons which today I pass on to my students. One of those lessons, from that night and from the Biblical story of Moshe, is that a moment of despair, a moment of pure frustration, can be our final breaking point, the end of our dream, or...a Turning Point and the beginning of great glory ahead!
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