Cackling and Crackling
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

July 25, 2018, Israel

Cackling:  laughing in a loud, harsh way

Crackling: to make slight, sudden, sharp noises, rapidly repeated.

It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
    than to listen to the cackling song of fools.
Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
    so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless, vanity. 

Ecclesiastes Chapter 7

 טוב לשמע גערת חכם מאיש שמע שיר כסילים: {ו} כי כקול הסירים תחת הסיר כן שחק הכסיל וגם זה הבל

קהלת פרק ז

There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been written, we need only to read and understand. This is the problem nowadays; lack of education, lack of understanding.

Long ago, in the book of Ecclesiastics, attributed to my ancestor King Solomon, it was written. It is better to listen to and accept the rebuke of a wise man than listen to the cackling of fools. This has many deep meanings. It is better to be rebuked by someone who truly understands than to be praised by a fool who wants to make you happy and win your favor. The praise of the fool and the uneducated is an illusion while the rebuke of the wise is real. 

The rabbis say the face of the generation is like the face of the dog, and the truth is lacking. (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin),

פני הדור כפני כלב, והאמת נעדרת." (תלמוד בבלי, מסכת סנהדרין, דף צ"ז, עמוד א')

This means as the dog walks in front of his owner but looks back to see where the owner wants to go, so too are our leaders who pretend to lead but actually keep looking to see where the people want to go. This is incorrect. Leaders must lead! That is why they are leaders. When you seek only popularity you follow the masses, but if you are truly a leader, or a teacher, it is your task to lead the way. The Talmud warns, whoa unto a generation where the leaders follow those whom they are meant to lead. And here the "truth becomes scarce". 

The same expression is used in the Mishna (Talmud) tractate Sota, where it is a reference to the pre-redemption, (pre messianic) times, that this period will be filled with extreme audacity and disrespect for traditional values and elders. (Hmm...wonder how that might be relevant).

Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, a student of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagen of Radum, Poland, felt this was a reference to our own times, and in fact the State of Israel came into being shortly afterwards. The "era of audacity" of mankind included World War Two and the Holocaust. 

The second verse I quote talks about the sound the fire makes when thorns are being burnt. It sounds like cackling, or strange laughter, and is compared to the song or laughter of fools. We all know what this sounds like, just go to any bar and you will hear a sample.

As a rabbi in Stuttgart recently explained the thorns make a good fire, with lots of cackling sounds, but they do not produce any heat. This fire under the pot looks and sounds impressive but in fact does not cook the food in the pot. The food remains uncooked. While the fire looks and sounds impressive it in fact produces nothing while a few logs burning quietly actually produce real heat. 

Can we see the relevance to our own times, and in fact to Krav Maga? Is it not obvious, and yet this was written about 2,500 years ago.

Recently with the new show produced by the famed actor Sasha Baron Cohen he makes a great parody of Krav Maga and Counter Terror instructors who in fact just talk the talk and have "the look". The fact that he knows nothing about Krav Maga, knows nothing about counter terror, has the Hebrew on his T shirt written backwards, and in fact is not even Israeli made no impression on anyone. He managed to fool everyone. 

He made outrageous statements and yet people believed him. Why? Because he had the look and talked the talk, he had the "Cackling of thorns", a lot of flame and noise but in reality not enough heat (truth, reality) to cook the food in the pot. 

People fell for his "training". The face of the generation is like the face of the dog. We let our students lead us, we let the market dictate our approach and our techniques. We want things that look good.

But we at IKI know better. The flash and the "look" and the macho bravado talk will easily impress the foolish but there is not enough true heat to cook a porridge. You will be left eating uncooked cold food. And in terms of Krav Maga you will be left with techniques that "seemed impressive at the time" but failed you in a real situation. Perhaps even the Hebrew on your T shirt is backwards. 

The face of the generation is like the face of the dog, so wrote the rabbis 2,000 years ago. 

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