March 10, 2020, Purim, Israel
the legendary Esther and Mordechai
Doomsayer, one given to forebodings and predictions of impending calamity.
"and Mordechai knew all that had been done (the evil decrees against the Jewish nation), and he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes (an act of mourning), and walked out into the city wailing loud and bitterly, and he came to the entrance of the Kings' Gate, for it was forbidden to enter the Kings' Gate in sackcloth.
...Esther the queen sent messengers to him...she sent clothes to dress Mordechai and to remove his sackcloth from him, but he would not accept them." (The Scroll of Esther, Chapter 4)
They say for a nurse it is better to work in the maternity ward than in the cancer ward, nicer to be with happy people than with sad people. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone. But it is the doomsayers, the truth seers, the pessimists, who often save the world.
Churchill warned the free world about Hitler, Chamberlain was more of an optimist. Zeév Vladimir Jabotinsky warned the Jews to leave Europe, most dismissed him as a doomsayer. These unfortunate people might have been thinking about his dire pessimistic warnings as they were led to the gas chambers.
Krav Maga instructors, or I should say, True Krav Maga instructors, are notorious doomsayers.
Yes, we speak of unpopular topics, we warn about violence. Do not invite us to a party as we might dampen the mood with our dire warnings of impending doom. The popular commercial styles of Krav Maga are different, they create a happy smiley environment where there is fun for the whole family and they train for fun N Fitness. We do believe in smiling, and we do believe in a happy training environment but we always stress the serious, deadly, nature of our training. We are training because we believe there is real danger out there. We see the cup half empty.
To some Purim is just a very happy holiday; dress up, act silly, drink too much and eat too much. To us, the Krav Maga types, it contains valuable, timeless lessons. It is in fact, a self defense holiday and should be marked by Krav Maga instructors worldwide. We look at Mordechai and we see a stubborn old Jew, for you are a stiff necked people, and he hears the evil decrees and he takes immediate action. He tears his clothing and puts on sackcloth and walks around the town in mourning, screaming and wailing loudly for all to hear. All is not well, he ways, and he makes people uncomfortable. Rabbi Kahane wrote a book, Uncomfortable Questions for Comfortable Jews, you can say that Mordechai the Jew did the same. He made people feel uncomfortable.
Esther was a comfortable Jew, so he warned her...you shall not escape...if you do not help the Jewish people, help will come from elsewhere and you and your father's household shall be doomed....perhaps it was only for this reason that you have reached your position of influence, now use it for the benefit of your people.
The comfortable Jew was made to feel uncomfortable, and she took action. We, Krav Maga instructors, must make people feel uncomfortable. This will not make us popular, but we must be the Mordechai of our community, put on sackcloth and wail out loud and draw attention to the situation until people join us and take action. And that, my friends, is one of the key messages of Purim.
Happy Purim everyone, have a drink on me!
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