Israel Hanukoglu, Ph. D.
Laboratory of Cell Biology
Ariel University
Ariel 40700, Israel

IF by Rudyard Kipling

Personal comments:

I had received this poem in a greeting card for my high-school graduation from my AFS family (Mr. and Mrs. Leslie and Lois Partridge in Janesville, WI). Ever since, it has been a source of guidance and encouragement. I would like to re-direct this to all students. When you are going through trying times, read this poem. It will give you strength.

In later years, reading the stories of the Bible, I could see many parallels between the poem and some Biblical teachings and stories. There are many comments on the Internet about the influence of the Bible on Kipling's philosophy. The life story of my hero, Moses (Moshe Rabenu), is the epitome of personality described in this poem. My only reservation about the poem is the section that starts with "If you can make one heap..." Please do not take it to mean that you have to gamble with your life. But rather to mean that you should be prepared to take risks in your life.

Hebrew translation of the poem


by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!

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