I'm a Fighter!


[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Lech Lecha 5774 – translated by R. Blumberg]

 

Part I

Yes, I'm a fighter! True, that seems bad, but sometimes there's no choice. It's not respectable nor acceptable, but I don't care. Therefore, I fight.

When someone is weak and spineless, he gets trampled to no end. The world is full of naïve people who praise appeasement and then meet a bitter end. Therefore, you must be serious and responsible, and attack.

I never attack without cause, spurred by aggressive passions. I, too, love peace and quiet. Yet as the Latin saying goes, Si vis pacem, para bellum, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” I attack only the enemy. And obviously I don't wait for him to attack me in order to defend myself. That's too late. I hasten the cure before the disease, waging battle in the enemy's gates. The best defense is a preventative attack.

I enjoyed seeing what Rabbi Yitzchak Arama wrote in his Akeidat Yitzchak: “Man is born a fighter. G-d, as well, whose pathways we follow, is a “man of war”, a warrior, causing salvation to burgeon forth.

 

Part II

Whom do I fight against? I'm not a lowlife. I bear no pathological fear of enemies lying in wait at every turn. I also know how to give in and to put myself aside. I do not say that anyone who does not belong to my group is an enemy. No, I investigate and think and bone up on the issue, until I go to war. Yet once I have made up my mind, I go for the whole stake, waging a life-and-death battle to the end, until my enemy is totally liquidated, unable to rise. I invest great energy in this, endangering my own life, because my own life is at stake.

That is the concept of total war. As the great theoretician Carl von Clausewitz said, or as the French say, “A la guerre comme a la guerre – “In war as in war”.

Who, then, is my enemy? Evil! It drives me out of my mind! I hate it and fight it wherever I encounter it. By such means I perform a good, not just for myself but for everyone. And please don't tell me, “Who are you and what are you? For a lowlife like you to hoist up the flag of war against evil.” For I will tell you: True, I'm a lowlife. I must therefore fight evil. For if I do not fight evil, I shall remain a lowlife.

 

Part III

Where do I find so much evil? The answer to that is the easiest to know and the hardest to act upon. It's in me. I fight against the evil within me. Not within others. How brazen it would be of me to fight the evil in others but not in myself! That itself would constitute a terrible evil.

I do not want to be evil! I did not say that I would be a saint, but I don't want to be a sinner. I don't want to be captive to the Devil. I don't want to be a wild man or a pagan.

It's true that I'm not worth a lot and I don't dare to claim that I am something special, or that I will be. All the same, against evil I do not compromise. And I don't go easy on myself either. I will fight any sin, any negligence regarding a good trait, any evil trait.

Such is my quest, and when I succeed, even a little bit, I feel everlasting joy. How happy I am!

I didn't make any of this up. I saw it it all in rabbinical treatises on fine behavior.

To be sure, life is no picnic. It's no playground. It's war, and I am thrilled to go to battle.

Won't you join me?