New Day New Song

Part of Krav Maga is about empowerment, moving ahead in life, and overcoming obstacles. These obstacles can be physical or emotional.

Three stories that are taking place at the same time in my life. One is the story of Masada, the last strong-hold of the Jews against the Romans at the end of The Great Revolt in 73-4 C.E. The Second is the story of the Maccabees and the years 170 – 140 B.C.E. and the third a personal situation that a dear friend is going through.

The story of Masada is indeed tragic. I will not go into the entire story here but for those on Mt. Masada indeed it must have seemed that the great Jewish nation was coming to an end. The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, its holy vessels stolen by the Romans, and most of the population of Judea had been killed or taken as slaves. The last 960 men, women, and children were under siege and surrounded by the most powerful army in the world; the Tenth Roman Legion, known simple as "The Tenth" and feared throughout the world.

Other than two women and five children no Jews survived Masada, and yet today, thank God, the Jewish people are alive and well and in possession of the land of Israel.

They story of the Maccabees is a story of courage and victory but also when you study the entire time period you realize it is also a story of constant struggle and great sacrifice to remain an independent people free of the Syrian Gentile yoke. First Mattathias died, then Judah was killed in battle, Elazar was crushed by an elephant, Yonatan was tricked and taken as prisoner and then murdered. And yet the struggle continued with the remaining brother Simon. "My Glorious" brothers never gave up. At no point did anyone say, "Y'know, this is just too difficult for me, let's just call it a day and accept whatever they give us." No, if one man fell, another lifted up his sword. Giving up was never an option for our glorious ancestors.

My friends' story is sad indeed. It involves family going into business together (tricky idea) and a long term law suit that threatens to destroy a family physically, emotionally and financially. I comforted my friend with our Jewish history. People walked out of Auschwitz with no family, no home, no money, no place to turn, and they rebuilt their lives. We are a nation of survivors. No obstacle is too great.

There is a song I grew up with, an Israeli song, "Lakom mahar baboker im shir chadash baLev", to rise up tomorrow morning with a new song in the heart, to sing it with strength and to begin from the beginning.

It is a modern song and yet contains an ancient message, a very Jewish message. We faced the Babylonians, The Romans, The Spanish Inquisition, The Nazis, the Soviet Communists, and now the entire Arab world, we live with the constant threat of wars and suicide bombers and yet we go on. People had lost everything and yet woke up in the morning and began anew.

The sword of Judah the Maccabee, the courage in the hearts of men and women who refuse to give up, the spirit and the hope still lives within us.

I recall a rabbi who told us an old saying that when redemption is about to come we shall all be hanging on to a rope stretched out from one point to another. The rope will shake and many will weaken and let go and fall. "I am telling you this", he said, "so that you will know and hold on tight, for the redemption is near to come."

Hold on, never let go, never lose courage.