Be Prepared

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk



“Bereitschaft”/ Preparedness


To be prepared for the expected is a chore but is necessary.  No one, however, can be prepared for all eventualities.  We have seen this with the “October Surprise”, the unanticipated destructive Buffalo snowstorm in the Fall of 2006. Our President and our armed forces by no means expected the Iraqi war to last as long as it has.  The Israelis certainly were not expecting war on a Yom Kippur day by the Arabs.  They did not expect to have to be prepared for the unknown.  The Jews of Europe did not expect a Hitler who would have them transported in cattle trains to concentration camps to be gassed, shot and destroyed. Although human beings cannot foresee the unforeseeable we need to be prepared for the consequences if we are oblivious to the obvious, and thus are like inexperienced children.

 As a young girl I recall that my sister was in a club for pre-teens consisting of young female children whose symbol was the raising of the right fist and saying “Bereitschaft”.  When the Jewish persecutions continued, my sister was the only Jewish child in the group.  She was consequently deleted.  As she was thrown out of that club she left with a salute, raised her fist and uttered “Bereitschaft”. She was an innocent youngster who did not know what to do about the hurt that had been perpetrated nor what to do about it, so she acquiesced. 

This is a great lesson to learn.  We cannot acquiesce to treatment that is vicious, destructive and annihilating.  We must fight for what we believe. We cannot shake the hand that does evil, turn the other cheek, nor accept sadistic behavior, whether it be with words or deeds.  Words often  lead to action.  We cannot permit ourselves to be destroyed by maliciousness, sadistic nations or individuals.  We must fight back before these actions increase.  We learned from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that we should forgive, that a new year has come and we should ask for forgiveness from the Almighty.  We certainly should right the wrongs that we perpetrated, often unknowingly.  This does not mean we should accept hatred and malice toward ourselves as well as against others in our world.  Fighting back is acceptable for the unacceptable, for the unthinkable.

By all means carry out the words of the beautiful song:  “Hine Ma Tov’, etc.  It is beautiful and important to help your brother, your brethren, but not your enemies!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of  Deviant Nurses & Improper Patient Care (2006).

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