Terms, Words and Value
By Moshe Katz, Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

 The words we use have an effect on how we perceive things. The way we see things has an effect on the words we use. Our values and our words are intimately connected.

Years ago a rabbinical colleague of my father was fired, or ..let go. It was a "more modern synagogue, or...Temple, and the board had the nerve to send out the following letter to the congregational members.

"The rabbi refused to see himself as an employee of the synagogue and was reluctant to follow the changes we had decided upon. He preferred to see himself as the leader of the congregation. He forgot that he was only an employee."

And soon enough he was an ex "employee".

Traditionally the rabbi, although paid by the congregation, is in fact the leader of the congregation and the decider on all matters of Jewish law and practice. It is his decision that counts. His word is the rule.

To view him in any other way is absurd and arrogant, regardless of who is paying his salary.

Taking this analogy to other matters there are landlords and investors who view the apartments that they own as "Property". Fair enough in the sense that they invested their hard earned money in these projects for the sake of profit. They did not invest a million dollars because they care about providing decent housing; it is pure business. But yet...

I do know real estate developers here in Israel, and real estate agents, who while being interested in profit also see themselves as providing a valuable product for the people. One proudly said to me, "I have built a community". And in fact she did!

She worked hard on creating a particular environment. She made sure the project had a certain character and provided for the needs of the future community. Play grounds, synagogues, and youth clubs were included. Parks, centers for the aged, shopping with parking were also included. She took great pride in a community that one could be proud. To this day people who live there thank her for the quality of life. And, she became rich in the process.

But her richness is not only in profits, but also in the satisfaction of having provided a great quality of life in Israel for so many people. When our time comes to an end and it is time to "return our equipment", it is this kind of wealth that means the most to us. In this case the houses were both "Property" and "homes".

What is the difference?

When we say "Property" it seems to feel like nothing more than money in the bank, or a piece of gold purchased as an investment. It becomes nothing more than a matter of dollars and cents. But we must remember that what is "Property" to us, is a "home sweet home" to someone else.

When we think purely in terms of business we might forget that this property is someone's home, that we should not "get by with the minimum" but we should really do the maximum. It is someone's home, the place they come to after a hard day's work, the place they are raising their children, or spending their retirement days. We should care about them.

Similarly in martial arts, do we call our students "Clients" which is becoming the fashion nowadays, or "Students,. which is more traditional?

What is the difference?

Student implies that you treat his person as your protege, someone you truly care about, you see it as your responsibility to help them grow in whatever field it is you are teaching. You do not try to please them, you do not think in terms of dollars and cents and how you can best squeeze as much cash as possible out of them. They are your responsibility.

A client, well, we all know what that is. Yes, you also must do the best for your client but it is a different sort of relationship. It lacks the teacher-student relation, the respect, the need for the teacher to teach and the student to learn.

When I grading instructors I look to see these values in them: See the "Home" rather than then "Property", see the "Student" rather than the "Client".