November 12, 2015 Yaakov Lyons

fingerfriendsYou know how you have friends who, no matter how many years go by, it is as if you saw them just yesterday?  And what about those friends that, once a few months go by without seeing them, you have absolutely nothing to say to them?  Bet you have them also.

Our sages define two broad categories of friendship: those that are dependent on circumstances and those that are not.  We are friends with some people because we love them.  Other people are merely our friends because we share common experiences, goals, or beliefs with them.  When those situations change, the friendship vanishes.

According to the Torah, Isaac loved Esav because Esav brought him delicacies.  The Torah also mentions that Rivka loved Yaakov, but does not say why.  Rabbi Yeshiah Horowitz points out that, when the Torah says Isaac loved Esav, the past tense of the verb “loved” is used.  This is because their loved was based on shared experiences in their past.  However, the verb used for Rivka’s love is in the present tense!  That is because a love which is not dependent on a situation can last forever.

A challenge for us, and a Jewish ideal, is learning to view friends as valuable individuals to have in our lives regardless of our shared experiences or views.  We should always be striving to connect with others in a way that transcends the situations we find ourselves in, and celebrates them for who they are as unique and valuable people.


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