Your Impact
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

January 8, 2017, Israel

Listen to the wind blow. Listen to the desert. Listen to the forest.

Mundek Łukawiecki is a Jewish Polish partisan. The period is 1941 - 1944. The area is Zamość-Lubaczów, Poland. (About 58 Kilometers from Chelm, or 91 Kilometers from Lublin)

He learns to understand the forest. "The sound of the trees during the day and the night was completely different". This Jewish man and his group learn to listen. They feel the impact of even the slightest change in the forest. Their survival depends upon it.

"They came to understand the noise of the wind blowing". Based on the sound they can understand what is going on in the forest. Each tree impacted the forest. The noise of the wind told what kind of trees were growing, their age and their leaves. The type of soil mattered. The sound of the wind depended upon all these factors. The slightest change was an indication of something important. When you need to survive you learn to listen and observe.

Mundek tells his son how the "woods had their own language" and the partisans mastered this language. Chana, who grew up as an ultra Orthodox Jewish girl, can pick up the slightest change in the forest and she catches a Ukrainian collaborator. The impact of his steps disturbed the forest and alerted her now sharp senses. This city girl had already lost her entire family to the Nazi death machine. She learned to speak with the forest.

The forest was an orchestra and the slightest change in notes indicated that a change had taken place in the forest. It meant that an outsider was here. He was stepping on branches, he was impacting the balance of the forest. The forest people could sense him, a dangerous intruder.

Many of us wonder if we are having an impact with our lives. We toil as teachers, instructors, we try to leave our mark. And most of the time we feel like my dear dad used to say, like we are "shoveling shit against the tide".

But my dad had an impact on this world and so do you. For some it is a positive impact, for many it is a negative impact but each person leaves his mark, for better or for worse.

We have a saying, the day you were born was the day God decided the world can no longer exist without you. Now it is your turn. You are on stage for a few years. The question is what will you do with that time.

We often wonder, is all my effort worthwhile? Am I adding something to this world? Will anyone notice if I disappear?

I am sitting in the synagogue, the House of Worship and Contemplation, and the answer comes to me. I am sitting in Maaleh Adumim but suddenly I see the forests of Poland and hear Mundek speaking. Yes, you have an impact. The slightest change in the forest will be detected. A leaf will change the sound of the forest orchestra. The step of an unwelcome guest will send signals throughout the forest. Yes, every step we take has an impact, for good or for bad. We matter. All matter matters.

Sometimes we need to be reminded by others. You can be walking down the street and a stranger will walk up to you and say, "You taught me when I was in Third Grade. The words you spoke changed my life. Thank you teacher."

And then you will be motivated to continue with your path. Remember every word spoken affects the universe, every leaf affects the forest. Mundek said he could detect by smell any foreigner who entered the forest. Even the noise and pattern of the snow was different according to types of trees.

Never forget that we have an impact. Never forget the candle that burns inside you. All lives matter. All actions have impact.

Suggested reading:
Jewish hit squad : the Łukawiecki partisans unit of the Polish Armia Krajowa, 1941-1944 / Simon Lavee (Łukawiecki)

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