Today we observe Yom Kippur, a significant day in the Jewish calendar that marks the culmination of the Days of Awe or Days of Repentance. In tradition, Yom Kippur serves as a time of deep self-reflection and introspection, as per Jewish tradition. On this day, we believe that our actions and deeds from the past year are subjected to judgment. It is a solemn occasion where we seek forgiveness from God for any wrongdoings we may have committed.

However, Yom Kippur is moreso about reconciliation with our friends, family, co-workers, and all other fellow humans. According to our beliefs, God’s forgiveness is intertwined with our efforts to seek forgiveness and make amends with those we may have wronged. Therefore, it’s not solely about seeking divine forgiveness but also about fostering reconciliation and seeking forgiveness from those affected by us.

We are obliged to take responsibility for our own actions, regardless of the actions of others. Yes, some of our wrongdoing may have felt  justified and rationalized, but we ask for forgiveness despite this. It is not about being right; it’s about cleaning your side of the street, even if your adversary doesn’t do so.

When I was in my late teens, I remember a story that taught me an important lesson about different points of view when I believed I was “always right.” I hope this story will inspire you to see things differently, if you are “always right.”

“One night at the airport, a woman realized she had arrived too early for her flight. In the bookstore, she found a suspenseful book, and at the snack bar, she bought a bag of cookies with an enticing aroma. She searched for a place to sit for a few hours until her flight. She found a corner, settled in, and put her boarding pass in her pocket. She was deeply engrossed in her book when, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a man sitting next to her. She hadn’t paid him any attention at all, but in his audacity, the villain dared to reach into the bag of cookies placed between them and started taking some.

She decided to ignore his rudeness and vulgarity, not wanting to make a scene that might cause further audacity. So, she continued to read while keeping an eye on the clock on the wall. The cookie thief swiftly depleted the supply, taking a cookie each time and eating it in front of her. She thought to herself, “He’s probably going to ask for a cup of coffee soon.”

When only one cookie remained, she wondered what he would do now. With a shy smile on his face, he broke the remaining cookie in half and offered her one half, while he kept the other for himself. Frustrated and with half a cookie in her hand, she thought to herself that he was both a thief and impolite – he hadn’t even said thank you.

When the announcement for the flight’s departure came, she felt relieved. She gathered her belongings and headed towards the gate without looking back at the cookie thief and his annoying audacity. She walked quickly, lost in thought. She boarded the plane and settled into her seat, deciding to return to the book that had captured her interest.

As she rummaged through her bag for the book, she was astonished to find another bag of cookies right before her eyes. She was perplexed and surprised. How could this be? The other cookies had been his, but he had shared them with her, and he didn’t even say “enough.” In fact, he should have apologized much earlier.”

In the end, she realized that the rudeness had been hers all along – she was the cookie thief who had eaten his cookies.

This story reminds us that in life, we can find ourselves completely sure of something, only to later discover that what we believed to be the absolute truth was not the case. Life is not always black and white; there are shades of gray. It’s important to keep an open heart, question ourselves, and make sure we’re not eating someone else’s cookies.

This story imparts a remarkable lesson on the subject of discernment and the practice of evaluating the nature of reality. It underscores the fact that the truth doesn’t always appear as we initially perceive it, and sometimes, we need to open our hearts and take a more comprehensive look at reality. This story also reminds me to stay open to different possibilities and not blindly trust my preconceived notions or assumptions. I want to believe I’m getting better at it as I get older. Being willing to ask questions even if you might not like the answers is growth.

Most people don’t intend to hurt others, but we can all be at fault for not being great communicators sometimes. Apologizing is hard, especially when both sides are in pain and want to be acknowledged first. But waiting for an apology prevents us from taking responsibility for our own actions and keeping our side of the street clean. This perpetuates the hurt, and can turn a small disagreement into a permanent problem. We don’t know how to make peace without feeling like we’re giving up a big part of our ego.

The “LOVE” Sculpture by Alexander Milov, (showcased at the Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada) never fails to amaze me. This sculpture features two adult figures with their backs turned to each other, symbolizing a strained or troubled relationship. What makes this piece of art particularly remarkable is the depiction of the children within the adults. The sculptures of the children are reaching out to each other in a gesture of love and connection, providing a stark contrast to the disconnection between the adults. This sculpture serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring themes of beauty and truth in our lives, highlighting the importance of nurturing and preserving our capacity for love, compassion, and reconciliation, even in the face of challenging circumstances.

I, on behalf of myself and the whole KME staff and family, thank you for being a part of our journey and for allowing us to be a part of yours. It is NEVER our intention to hurt, insult, or disrespect anyone who is coming through our doors. If, for some reason, you have felt wronged by us, I ask for your forgiveness.

Do something amazing,

Tsahi Shemesh
Founder & CEO
Krav Maga Experts

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