September 9, 2015, Israel
We need parents and we need grandparents. We need roots and we need someone to look up to. We need role models and we need someone to talk with, someone with life experience and wisdom. We need guidance.
Joseph said that the image of his father Jacob was always with him. When he was sold into Egyptian slavery, far from home and facing many difficult challenges the image of his father Jacob guided him.
We are told ..may your eyes always behold the image of your teachers. (Isaiah chapter 30, verse 20)
וְהָיוּ עֵינֶיךָ רֹאוֹת אֶת מוֹרֶיךָ
We need our grandfathers.
But grandfathers do not last forever. They are a limited gift. My grandfather Moe passed away before I was born. My grandfather Isaac was a great rabbi and a true role model. But he too was gone by the time I was 17.
We seek grandfathers; guides, teachers, role models, advisers...throughout our lives.
During our lives we gather information, experiences, tidbits of wisdom. Hopefully we read, we study, we spend time with the wise ones. As the rabbis wrote 2,000 years ago, "hanging out" with your teachers is the same as studying from them, the "simple chatter" of the teachers is regarded as wisdom and is an important part of our education and growth. If you find a true teacher...stick with him.
But not all men grow up to be grandfathers. Some just grow big, some grow fat, some just grow old. Some grow greedy, grumpy and angry.
Words of wisdom are always all around us, the question is do we listen, do we hear, do we embrace.
We need the Godfather, a wise old man to settle disputes, resolve differences and guide diverse people to a common goal. We need a godfather that all parties respect to make a fair decision.
And then comes a time when some of us, reluctantly perhaps, must embrace the role of grandfather/godfather. We must become the grandfather. We must rise above greed, above jealousy, above anger. We must control the situation rather than be controlled by it. We must remain balanced.
Years ago when I consulted with a rabbi in Brooklyn about Krav Maga he said to me...there is no one for you to follow, you must become the Zaide (grandfather in Yiddish).
I still turn to my teachers for advice, and guidance, but as the rabbi said I must be the Zaide, the grandfather.
My book, "Israel, A Nation of Warriors" tells my personal story, as well as the story of the fighting nation of Israel. But it tells you who I am. Sometimes we grow from our pain, and we grow from our experiences.
The words of my father, and my grandfathers, are always with me. The soft spoken ways of grandfather Isaac, the revolutionary Zionist fire and passion of grandfather Moe. The dream, the ideal.
Not all are fit to lead. Just yesterday on the plane while chatting with a fellow Israeli she said to me.."What a heavy name you carry, Moshe David from the family of priests, these are names of leadership."
We believe names mean a great deal. Moshe and David were great Jewish leaders. My parents gave me a lot to live up to.
I hope I am worthy of this holy task.
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