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Wake Up and Make Up

Yom Kippur (Leviticus ch. 16 )

by Nesanel Yoel Safran

If we get into an argument or fight with someone (and everybody does, at least sometimes), it’s important to try to make-up with the person afterwards. The days leading up to Yom Kippur, are a special time set aside in the Jewish year for people to make an extra effort to apologize to, and patch up differences with each other.


In our story, some kids get a lesson in making-up, from an unexpected source.


When Shauna and her friend Jane decided to team up and make an afternoon playgroup for their neighborhood’s toddlers, they figured it would be a fun way to earn some spending money and help out some stressed-out parents at the same time. But they didn’t realize that becoming ‘business partners’ could be more than just fun and games… 

“What do you mean ‘I’m’ the one who has to clean up after snack time?” Shauna griped at Jane’s comment. “I think you should do it!” 

“What?” Jane countered, “It’s not enough that I was the one who had to run to the store and buy the drinks that you forgot to bring this morning?” 

‘Run’ to the store? I think it was more like you ‘crawled’ to the store! Do you realize how long you were gone—and how nuts I went, having to watch all these little kids by myself!” 

The girls’ argument got louder and louder and nastier and nastier. The only thing that made it stop was the even louder, screaming, crying fight taking place in the corner of the room by Timmy and Josh—two of the most ‘rambunctious’ of the toddlers.  

Jane ran over to break up the fight, which she did successfully, but when she got back to Shauna the two of them were now officially on ‘no speaking’ terms (which are pretty inconvenient terms to be on when you’re partners with somebody and stuck in the same room with them for four hours every day!). 

Somehow, the rest of the afternoon passed with the two girls keeping their distance and just making the barest grunts and hand signals to each other when they had to communicate at all.  

The next day started with more of the same bitter coldness between the girls. And also like the day before it wasn’t long before a big, loud noise was heard from Timmy and Josh, tussling in the corner. 

This time both girls ran over from their opposite sides of the room. When they got there, they saw that the kids weren’t crying—but seemed to be…laughing. 

“Hey, stop fighting, you two!” Jane commanded. The two boys ignored her and continued giggling and rolling on the ground. 

“Stop fighting by the time I count to three,” Shauna warned, “or no cookies for either of…” 

“Who’s fighting?” little Timmy looked up and said. 

“We’re not fighting—we’re playing!” Josh added as Timmy, laughing, nodded in agreement. 

“But yesterday you were really fighting,” Jane insisted. 

“Uh, huh,” Timmy said. “That was yesterday—but now we made up and are friends again, so we’re playing.” With that, the two boys, started tickling each other and laughingly scooted across the room.  

The two, stunned playgroup leaders watched them run off then looked at each other. 

“Hmm…those little kids kind of have a point,” Jane said softly, “I’m, uh, sorry about the things I said to you yesterday…okay?” 

“Me too,” Shauna nodded with a grin. “I guess we ‘leaders’ ought to act at least as mature as the little kids we’re supposed to be leading, shouldn’t we?"


Ages 3-5

Q. How did Jane and Shauna feel at first about continuing their fight?
A. They just kept it up and didn’t feel like they should make up.

Q. How did they feel in the end?
A. After seeing how the two little kids could make up, they felt like they were mature enough to make up too.


Ages 6-9

Q. What life-lesson do you think someone could learn from this story?
A. While everyone gets into fights and disagreements sometimes, the right thing to do is to try to patch things up and find a way to restore the peace.

Q. What do you think the two girls could do to avoid future playgroup-related quarrels?
A. They could make a schedule of responsibilities that they both agree to, and even when things go ‘off schedule’, they could discuss the situation in a calm, respectful way.


Ages 10 and Up

Q. Do you think that trying to make up with those we are quarreling with is a sign of weakness or strength? Why?
A. While, superficially, apologizing and seeking to patch things up, may appear as weakness, it is actually a great act of courage and strength. It means putting oneself on the line and doing something uncomfortable, for the sake of a higher value. Few things demonstrate more strength of character than that!

Q. Are there times we shouldn’t initiate reconciliation?
A. If the other party is obviously not interested in a peaceful relationship, or will manipulate our desire for peace to harm us further, it may be best to keep things distant. But most quarrels between friends or family are not like that and we should make the effort to restore peace.

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