June 10, 2020, Israel
We are born in pain. A baby is born crying and from what I have heard the mother is in a great deal of pain as well. The ancient Hebrews would require the woman giving birth to bring a sacrifice of atonement as the assumption was that during childbirth she would have cursed and blasphemed all that his holy and sacred. (Book of Leviticus, Chapter 12). Most death occurs with pain as well, some more, some less. The process of being born is painful, the process of dying is painful, and in between there is also a great deal of pain and struggle. Such is life.
My teacher, Itay Gil, when teaching a defensive technique, would always say, "Our goal is to minimize damage". This was all a long time ago, before Krav Maga became a world wide phenomena. Today we hear nonsense like "Fear no man", or "No Fear". This is all total nonsense. As Louie Armstrong sang, what a wonderful world this is, but it is also a world where pain and suffering are a constant, and a given.
There are those who march against racism, there are those who march against violence. I am sorry, but this only makes me laugh. It is pathetic. Better to accept reality and march yourself to the dojo training hall. We Jews know that these aspects of society are not going away anytime soon. Sickness is bad, prejudice is bad, crime is bad, but they are here with us and they are not going away. "Evil walks behind you, Evil sleeps beside you", writes the modern poet (AC/DC, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson).
Back in the 1890's, an assimilated Germanophile Jew named Dr. Theodor Herzl reached the same conclusion. He wrote in his diary, regarding the Jews of Europe, "You are pariahs! You must forever tremble at the thought that you are about to be deprived of your rights and stripped of your possessions. You will be insulted when you walk in the streets. If you are poor, you suffer doubly. If you are rich, you must conceal the fact. ...the situation will not change for the better, but rather for the worse...There is only one way out: into the Promised Land. " (reissue; the Jewish State, 1946, page 37, American Zionist Emergency Council, New York)
This was the man who became the father of modern Political Zionism which lead to the establishment of the State of Israel. He understood this truth...the situation will not change for the better, but rather for the worse. This reality, this understanding of the truth, led the Jews to taking matters into their own hands and working towards their own salvation rather than waiting for others to help them. (protests, letter writing). This realization of the truth is the first step towards change. We must change because we cannot expect others to change for the better, only for the worse. This is reality and we Jews know and understand this lesson well. We do not need to be taught lessons about discriminations and prejudice. We are the undisputed World Champions in this prestigious category.
Today's lesson is we do not strive to eliminate pain, sickness, or hatred or prejudice, we learn to live with it. We learn that Evil walks beside us, and is not going anywhere soon. So we train, and we buy a big baseball bat, and we stand outside and say, I am ready! I am ready to handle whatever comes my way. I will not cry, I will not beg. I will fight!
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