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:
With Torah blessings,
Mori Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron