Columns - 2009

    The Karate Yid

    by Doug Brook
    Deep South Jewish Voice columnist

    Karahti (Heb. v. First person, past) I read; I called out to, I summoned; I called, I named; I shouted

    Moses was walking through the desert one day, minding his own business, when he came upon a plant on fire.

    He found this odd because: a) there was a plant in the desert, and 2) the bush was not consumed, neither by the fire nor by man because vegetarians had not yet been invented.

    Moses poured his canteen out on the bush, but the fire persisted. And because odd things come in threes, the bush then spoke to Moses, instructing him to a) free his people Israel from their slavery in Egypt and 2) put his canteen away.

    Moses asked how he's supposed to pull that off. The first part, at least.

    The Bush, which was not yet out of office, said that it would instruct him on how to free his people from oppression.

    Moses was in disbelief. "So I'm supposed to get instruction for defending my nation from a flaming bush with no military experience of its own?"

    "Burning bush, thank you. And don't ask, don't tell. But relax, I will teach you the ancient Jewish martial art of karate."

    But Moses asked, "Didn't the Chinese invent karate?"

    The bush replied, "Not yet. It's ours."

    Moses, ever one to flirt with danger, said, "Yeah, right."

    The bush replied, "It's true. Karahti is Hebrew for 'I shouted.' And that is the noise you make when you make a karate move. That's all the proof you need."

    "Well played," said Moses. "But won't they be upset that we're claiming that we had it first?"

    The bush replied, "We did have it first. They just pronounce the end with a long-A to try to sound different. But we'll go to their restaurants on Christmas Eve each year to make it up to them."

    Moses was satisfied. "Easy enough. You've got a simple solution like that any time someone starts fighting with us over original ownership?"

    The bush cleared its throat in annoyance.

    Moses asked, "So how are you, a burning bush, going to show me how to do karate?"

    Suddenly, a mighty hand and outstretched arm appeared from the heavens. Or at least really high up there somewhere. In a smooth lateral swipe, it cut through the top of a mountain lopping off its peak.

    Moses continued, "That's all well and good, but I don't have one of those mega-arm/hand things. How am I supposed to do it?"

    "Not a visual learner, are you?" the bush asked rhetorically.

    "Not really," Moses replied unrhetorically.

    The bush then instructed, "Moses-san, show me sand the floor."

    Moses was confused. "There's already sand on the floor. Everywhere. It's a desert."

    The bush continued, "Moses-san, show me paint the fence."

    Moses' confusion grew. "What fence? There's gonna be some walls, but that's a long way off."

    The bush's ire and fire grew as did its voice, both in volume and in resemblance to Charlton Heston. "Moses-san, can you free my people?"

    Moses trembled a little. "I guess so."

    The bush pressed Moses further, "Moses-san, if you do let-my-people-go yes, safe. If you do let-my-people-go no, safe. If you do let-my-people-go I guess so, squish like grape."

    Moses mustered his courage and replied, "Look, I can't do this. But I guess I can try. So you're saying that I need to squish some grapes to free my people? Am I making wine for Pharoah and poisoning it or something?"

    The bush rolled its eyes, "What you're making is trouble for me. Moses-san, we'll skip to learning the crane kick. There is no defense for it, and you'll be able to free my people."

    Moses smiled, thinking this was something he could handle. "Oh, that should be easier."

    The bush was relieved, "Thank God."

    Moses continued enthusiastically, "No problem. I can cook."

    The bush interjected, "What?"

    Moses went on, "Sure. I can make a mean chrayn. And Pharoah hates horseradish. So you're saying I'll make some chrayn that'll have extra kick to it and feed it to Pharoah to make him let my people go?"

    The bush, its hope reduced to embers, wearily said, "Alright, Moses. Never mind. Let me show you how to make it look like your staff turned into a snake."

    Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley who passed over the first few issues this year, but your luck has run out. For more information, past columns, other writings, and more, visit

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.