In the Name of HASHEM, G-d Eternal
In the Name of HASHEM, G-d Eternal

More Hebrew Warriorship in the Mishnah!

b’Shem HASHEM El `olam

7 Marhheshwan 5770 (October 25, 2009)

In ancient Israel, warriorship — particularly with staves (reed sticks) — was a part of everyday Jewish life.  See the Mishnah, Rosh haShanah 1,9:

“He who saw the new moon [and must give testimony in Jerusalem] but cannot go [on his own] — he is to be brought on an ass, even on a stretcher.  And in case an ambush is set up against them, they are to take staves [“maqloth” = staves/sticks/cudgels] in hand.  And if the journey is long, they are to take food…

We learn from this that the average Jew in Israel (for whom this law is intended) was skilled enough in combat with simples staves, to rout attackers bearing swords, spears, etc. According to Habbani-Jewish tradition, the reed-stave (“qan suf”) is the primary weapon the Israelites trained in from the days of our sojourn in Egypt, since we were forbidden to train with other weapons.  That is why it is called “yaara” in Yemenite, from the Hebrew word “ye’or” — the Nile.

See a brief demonstration of this combat by the Aluf Abir Yehoshua Sofer:

Abir Qesheth Hebrew Warrior Arts- Double Nabuta On The Rocks

With Torah blessings,

Mori Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron


2 Responses to “More Hebrew Warriorship in the Mishnah!”

  1. TzVi Ben Roshel Says:

    “since we were forbidden to train with other weapons.”

    That doesn’t make sense.
    -Firstly it says of king David Alaw hashalom that he would take his best sword when going into battle.
    – Fighting with sticks isn’t the best way to fight. Sticks can hurt but they don’t represent a real danger to the attackers as swords and other weapons do.
    – Anyway I hope you meant to train only (maybe just realized it now) but not about the actual fighting itself.

  2. David Fredin Says:

    I do not se the contradiction? The ones that took staves, refere to the many armed without swords, while the standing Army did have swords, as king David that would take his best sword when going into battle.

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