Krav Maga and Passover; Sons and Fathers

March 26, 2023


Soon it will be Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, and Jews all over the world are cleaning their homes and preparing for Passover. On the night of Passover Jewish families will gather together, as they have for thousands of years, and recount the story of the Exodus, when God took us out of Egypt and gave us the lessons of Freedom, which we share with the entire world.

We will read the "Haggadah" which is the story of the Exodus and the lessons of the rabbis. One of the most popular topics in this ritual is the lesson of the Four Sons. Much has been writing on this topic and every family expounds on it and offers their own thoughts. Our tradition is of learning, questioning and reevaluating. 

The Four Sons deals with the father of the family teaching the story to Four Sons, who represent four different kinds of people. One son is called Wise, and he follows the tradition to the letter, the ideal son. The second is called Evil, but he is not seen as truly evil but as somewhat rebellious, questioning, he does not accept things without a struggle. The next son is "Simple", and the fourth son is "One who does not know how to ask". 

There are many explanations and definitions as to what each son represents, but one thing is clear; they are very different from each other. I once heard a parent comment; with the first child you struggle, and finally you "get it right", you understand how to handle this child, you "figure it out", but then comes along the second child and all the lessons from the first child are proven useless. All the brilliant conclusions you gained from the raising the first child fail on the second child. The lesson is that each and every child is his own little world, each needs to be understood. As the book of Proverbs says, "Teach the child according to his way and even when he grows old he shall not depart from it." (Proverbs Chapter 22, 6) Teach him according to his way, not yours. You must understand your child's nature. 

חֲנֹךְ לַנַּעַר עַל פִּי דַרְכּוֹ גַּם כִּי יַזְקִין לֹא יָסוּר מִמֶּנָּה

As we approach Passover I think of my father. When he passed from this life, our dear friend Rabbi Block said to my youngest brother, and we too are four brothers, "Your father was a different father to each one of you. That is the nature of a true father, a good father, he is a different father to each child."

What I understand is that there are not only Four Sons, there are also Four Fathers, but in fact there is only one father. The one father must be a different father to each of his sons, to each of his children. He must behave differently towards each one, each one according to his needs and his own nature. 

As Krav Maga instructors, we can learn from this. We face a group of many students, but each student is an individual and each student has his own abilities and strengths. Each student has a different history; one was abused, another survived a violent attack. One learns by listening, another needs to be guided physically. One needs a soft approach while another may need more discipline. The good teacher must be a father, he must see each student as his own child and he must become a different father/teacher to each student.

Have a happy Passover everyone. 


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