Learning Money, Rebe Gelt
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

January 26, 2018, United Airlines, Mexico City - Texas

We make mistakes. We become upset. Poor judgment, lack of planning, laziness, carelessness, whatever: We make mistakes and we are upset and frustrated. 

My dear father; his lessons are always with me. His guidance is always with me. I can hear his voice from the beyond: "Check your hotel room before you leave. You don't recall placing anything in the drawers? That does not matter, check every drawer nonetheless.!

I can't recall how many times this sound advice has saved me much aggravation, how many times I found my charger, cash or other important items that might have been left behind. Listening to my father has served me well. 

And at times I have not been careful enough. I should have been more careful. I would have done it differently. I could have been better off if only I had...."

"Would have, Could have, Should have, the Cry of Losers" my father would say. Stop moaning about the past, shut up and move on. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. 

Looking for someone to blame? Look no further than yourself. The mirror is in the bathroom. 

World War One was coming to and end. Germany had lost fair and square and was about to face disaster. In the Fall of 1918 it was clear that the war was lost. Erich Ludendorff, was was the effective leader of the military, wanted to transfer the blame of the defeat to the politicians. Thus he suggested that the request for a ceasefire should come from a new government. That government would become known unofficially as the Weimar Republic. It would be the first and last German democracy until after World War Two. 

Friedrich Ebert was elected as the provisional president of the German Republic. He was Germany's first ever democratically elected head of state. He remained committed to democracy his entire life. 

It was a wise move to surrender before the western front collapsed. Unlike World War Two Germany surrendered before the entire country was totally destroyed. The leaders, in demanding a cease fire, saved the German nation destruction and heartache. But not all saw it that way.

They could not understand the defeat; they could not accept it. After all Germany did not "look" defeated and German troops were still on enemy soil. So what had happened?

According to some, it was the politicians who had ended the war prematurely and had prevented a German military victory. Ludendorff's plan had succeeded. 

There were men like Adolf Hitler who felt there were certain elements in the German population who were to blame; the communists and the Jews ( who constituted less than 1% of the population). These people developed the concept/myth known as "the Stab in the Back"; the idea that the German army did not lose the war on the battlefield but rather greedy politicians arranged this for their own benefit. 

Scholars, both German and non German, unanimously reject this Stab in the Back notion and point out that the German army was out of reserves and being overwhelmed in late 1918. Asking for a ceasefire was the best solution.

Hitler and others raised the question; Where were the Jews during the war? Who saw them on the battlefield? In fact the Jews had served in disproportionate high numbers and had distinguished themselves in battle. In fact the man who gave Mr. Hitler his Iron Cross was his Jewish commander, Hugo Gutman.  

An estimated 100,000 German Jewish military personnel served in the German Army during World War One, of whom 12,000 were killed in action. The Iron Cross was awarded to 18,000 German Jews during the war. 

And yet the cry went out: We Should have one the war, We Could have won the war, we Would have won the war had it not been for certain subversive elements in the population. 

Would have, Could have, Should have - The cry of losers. 

We make mistakes and when we do we must pay for those mistakes even though it is bitter and harsh. That is what my dad would always call in Yiddish Rebe gelt; learning money.

I should have purchased iron bars to protect my home. I would have done so had I been properly warned. I could have avoided my home being broken into and burglarized by Arabs. Would have, Could have, Should have - The cry of losers. 

I immediately accepted the situation and began to rebuild my life and move forward. 

I lost years of savings and many precious items. I lost my sense of security and peace. And I lost an item I can never replace; the gold watch my grandmother Mina Katz of blessed memory gave to my grandfather Moe Katz of blessed memory for his birthday. 

My father gave me this watch for my 40th birthday and now it is gone forever. But what I have forever are the lessons my father taught me. No crying, just move forward. 

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Moshe Katz

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