June 12, 2016, Israel
As a child I was taught the concept of stealing time. Now that seems strange. In school we learned the Talmudic/Biblical lessons of respecting other people's property. We learned that if you found an object with identifiable signs you must "declare it" and try to locate the owner and return the lost object. We learned how to settle disputes in a fair way. But how does one steal time? Time is not an object.
Time can indeed be stolen and the danger of stealing time is that you can commit a real big theft without much effort, in fact, without any effort at all.
Stealing time is when you steal another persons' time, and that is our most valuable asset.
When you arrange to meet someone at 9 am and he shows up at 9 am but you are not there until 9:15 am, you have stolen fifteen minutes of his time. That is time he can never recover. There is no time store, when the clock stops ticking the game is over, and you cannot buy any more time, at any price.
When a student tells a joke in class, distracting the class and annoying the teacher, he has stolen time, from everyone. If the joke took up two minutes and there are thirty kids in the class, that is two minutes multiplied by thirty. That equals sixty minutes. This boy has stolen one hour. In Hebrew we call this Gezel Zman, and it is a crime.
When Krav Maga students travel from all over the world to train and you delay everyone for half an hour because you forgot your wallet in your room, that is very valuable time you have stolen from the group. When one learns to understand this concept one learns to respect time, and people.
Mike Huckabee writes in his wonderful book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, that one must always live up to his word and his obligations. He quotes his father, a simple but honest man, "Don't ever have to be asked but once to do what you said you would do, whether it's to pay a bill or show up for work on time." (Page 229)
My own dear father lived by those very same sentiments and that is how he taught me.
In the days before e mails and instant messages and Whats Up etc, Dad would write a letter, sometimes looking for a job. He would wait for a reply and wait. Then he would have to send another letter. There are no words to describe the aggravation and frustration.
I followed in my dad's footsteps. A friend once did an experiment on me. He sent me two letters, exactly nine days apart (international mail, Israel - USA). Apparently he received two letters back from me, exactly nine days apart. And that is how I am to this very day, when you write to me, I reply, as soon as I possibly can. Why? It is a simple matter of respect. I respect your time and I respect the lessons my father taught me.
Do not be a time thief. Do not disrespect your friends and your business associates.
Each of us leaves an imprint. Each footstep changes the earth; each soul adds something to this earth. And when we walk we are never alone, with us walk our ancestors, invisible to our eyes but felt by our soul. Wearing the sandals of Abraham, the shabby shoes of the Warsaw ghetto, or the boots of the partisans, they walk beside us. We walk together, deep in thought.
Here I record my thoughts, my observations, my inspirations, with the hope that my words will help others in their own personal journeys.
Daily we are faced with challenges, inspiration, obstacles to overcome as we search for inner peace and meaning. This is a record my search, my journey narrated within the context of Krav Maga and Israeli/Jewish life.
Footsteps from Judea, Volume OneFootsteps from Judea Volume Two