Antifragile

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The following remarks were delivered by Dr. Tzuriel Roshi at the Hanukkah lighting ceremony held yesterday at Ariel University:

Generally we distinguish between fragile and unfragile objects. Glass is fragile and therefore we handle it with extra care while plastic is unfragile and therefore we can drop it without concern that it will break. But we must pay attention to a third type of object: the antifragile.

The philosopher Nassim Taleb was the first to write about this in his best-seller "Antifragile." There are substances in nature that are not only unfragile, but the attempt to break them makes them stronger. For example, if a raging fire is caught in the wind, the wind only increases the fire. The more a muscle of ours exerts itself and experiences resistance, the stronger it gets. When our immune system encounters a hostile substance in a small dose, a defense to that substance develops and our immunity is enhanced.

Hanukkah is a holiday that reminds us that we are antifragile: A mighty empire attempted to bring about the loss of our identity, but the opposite occurred. We emerged from that trial hardened like never before. We clung to our faith and to our land under impossible circumstances. As we read in the Haggadah, 'In every generation an enemy rose up to destroy us,' but they did not succeed. It is clear that all our challenges and hardships only serve to strengthen us.

It is these little candles that remind us of this enormous power. Hanukkah is an opportunity to stop and think about what makes us an antifragile people, and what can make each one of us into an antifragile human being.

Happy Hanukkah.

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