1) Why are these three maxims guidelines for living one's best life?
2) What is the difference between appointing and acquiring? Why "acquire" for yourself a friend? 3) What does the mishna (oral law) imply about a friend / friendship?
1) What can we learn here about friendship?
2) Think about your closest friendships - do you "sharpen one another"? How?
3) In Part II: Specifically focussing on the comparison between what one can learn from a teacher and a friend: why is this the case? Do you agree with R' Hanina?
VULNERABILITY & FRIENDSHIP (Exod 40 & 24):
(לג) וַיָּ֣קֶם אֶת־הֶחָצֵ֗ר סָבִיב֙ לַמִּשְׁכָּ֣ן וְלַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ וַיִּתֵּ֕ן אֶת־מָסַ֖ךְ שַׁ֣עַר הֶחָצֵ֑ר וַיְכַ֥ל מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶת־הַמְּלָאכָֽה׃ (פ) (לד) וַיְכַ֥ס הֶעָנָ֖ן אֶת־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וּכְב֣וֹד ה' מָלֵ֖א אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּֽן׃ (לה) וְלֹא־יָכֹ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד כִּֽי־שָׁכַ֥ן עָלָ֖יו הֶעָנָ֑ן וּכְב֣וֹד ה' מָלֵ֖א אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּֽן׃
(33) And he set up the enclosure around the Tabernacle and the altar, and put up the screen for the gate of the enclosure. When Moses had finished the work, (34) the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Presence of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. (35) Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud had settled upon it and the Presence of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.
(טו) וַיַּ֥עַל מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶל־הָהָ֑ר וַיְכַ֥ס הֶעָנָ֖ן אֶת־הָהָֽר׃ (טז) וַיִּשְׁכֹּ֤ן כְּבוֹד־ה' עַל־הַ֣ר סִינַ֔י וַיְכַסֵּ֥הוּ הֶעָנָ֖ן שֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֑ים וַיִּקְרָ֧א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֛ה בַּיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י מִתּ֥וֹךְ הֶעָנָֽן׃ (יז) וּמַרְאֵה֙ כְּב֣וֹד ה' כְּאֵ֥שׁ אֹכֶ֖לֶת בְּרֹ֣אשׁ הָהָ֑ר לְעֵינֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (יח) וַיָּבֹ֥א מֹשֶׁ֛ה בְּת֥וֹךְ הֶעָנָ֖ן וַיַּ֣עַל אֶל־הָהָ֑ר וַיְהִ֤י מֹשֶׁה֙ בָּהָ֔ר אַרְבָּעִ֣ים י֔וֹם וְאַרְבָּעִ֖ים לָֽיְלָה׃ (פ)
(15) When Moses had ascended the mountain, the cloud covered the mountain. (16) The Presence of the LORD abode on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. (17) Now the Presence of the LORD appeared in the sight of the Israelites as a consuming fire on the top of the mountain. (18) Moses went inside the cloud and ascended the mountain; and Moses remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
*NOTE: Dibuk Chaverim translates as "cleaving to friends." The word dibbuk comes from the Hebrew root dalet-bet-kuf meaning "to cling, be attached, glued." Chaverim translates as "friends" and comes from the Hebrew root chet-vet-reish meaning "to be joined" or "to unite."
REFLECTION & DISCUSSION:
1) The Chasidic master Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz taught: "Friendship is like a stone. A stone has no value, but when you rub two stones together properly, sparks of fire emerge." Think about someone whom you consider to be a very special friend. In what ways has that friend helped you to become a better person? In what ways have you helped your friend to grow?
2) At this stage in your life, what are the challenges to cultivating deep friendships? What are the blessings of deep friendships?
3) What are you looking for in a friendship? What do you offer in a friendship?
Jews of medieval times sought to guide their children by writing ethical wills. In these documents, the authors shared their wisdom with those who would follow, teaching how Jews ought to behave. From the book, Hebrew Ethical Wills, we read: "Raise not your hand against your neighbor. Never be weary of making friends; consider a single enemy as one too many. If you have a faithful friend, hold fast to him. Let him not go, for he is a precious possession." (Asher b. Yehiel, 13th century Germany and Spain)