The preferred format for Torah study, which is the paradigm for Tikkun, repair, is the חברותא (Chavruta), a study-partner. Based on and sharing the root letters with חבר (chaver), friend, it defines the ideal friendship within our tradition–a friendship based on the shared values of Torah.

To an outsider, a typical בית מדרש (Beit Midrash), study-hall, is the very picture of chaos. Grouped in pairs, the air is full of argument and disagreement. Opinions and interpretations are passionately attacked and defended. Miraculously, minds are frequently changed as we often see that our own ideas are weak and that our chavruta’s are much better. There is no shame in admitting defeat; to the contrary, we can only move forward when we realize we’ve been traveling down the wrong road and have changed our course.

One of my oldest friends commented on a recent article I wrote here, speaking about Miracles and Pesach. He said, “I do not think that we pray for miracles. Rather we pray to Hashem in the belief that he has a plan and ultimately whatever happens will be for the best. If in the course of that plan a “miracle” happens, we are grateful. Looking back, the fact my parents survived the Shoah was a miracle. I believe the Six Day War was a miracle. There are every day events that are miracles.For those I thank G-d and hope I am worthy of the kindness he has shown me. Have a kosher and joyful Pesach and a good Shabbos.

It was my privilege to say to him, “I agree completely and I stand, with gratitude, admiration, humility and love, corrected.

This is especially relevant to Pesach where one of the main themes, as we remove and burn chametz (leaven) from our homes and hearts. We try, as much as possible, to excise our puffed-up self-image and arrogance, the illusion that not only are we always right, but that we possess 100% of TRUTH.

The very nature of Chavruta teaches every one of us that none of us know it all or are always right. It’s my privilege today to thank God for this small miracle, allowing me to enter Pesach this time around with a humility I previously lacked. A true chaver, friend, helps us complete ourselves, provides the tikkunim, repairs our souls require.

Chag Sameach to all.

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7 Responses to Friendship

  1. olivierbenhaim says:

    Amen!Well said. Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,

    Rabbi Olivier BenHaim Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue (206) 527-9399

    “Be still, surrender, and know that ‘I Am’ is God.” – Psalm 46:11

  2. Mr. Cohen says:

    *** What Jewish Liberals Fail to Comprehend (part 1): ***

    “As our Evelyn Gordon wrote in a prescient COMMENTARY article published in January 2010, by signaling its willingness to withdraw from some territory, the Israelis did not convince anyone of their good intentions.

    To the contrary, such concessions reinforced the conviction that Israel was a thief in possession of stolen property.

    The reaction from the Palestinians and hostile Europeans was not gratitude for the generosity of the Israelis in giving up land to which they too had a claim, but a demand that it be forced to give up even more.

    Land-for-peace schemes and a belief in two states on the part of Israelis has always led most Palestinians to believe that their goal of forcing the Jews out of the entire country was more realistic, not less so.”


    *** What Jewish Liberals Fail to Comprehend (part 2): ***

    Somali-born Hirsi Ali, age 45, said:

    “…Muslims equate compromise with shame…”


    PS: How does this effect out ability to negotiate with Muslims?

    *** What Jewish Liberals Fail to Comprehend (part 3): ***

    Why Muslims hate Israel?
    (priceless honesty in 1.5 minute video from MEMRI TV)

    *** What Jewish Liberals Fail to Comprehend (part 4): ***

  3. Mr. Cohen says:

    Why Islam is a religion of peace:

    2013 CE: The Boston Marathon Bombers were Muslims
    2012 CE: The Libyan U.S. Embassy Attack was by Muslims
    2009 CE: The Fort Hood Shooter was a Muslim
    2009 CE: The underwear Bomber was a Muslim
    2008 CE: The Bombay & Mumbai India Attackers were Muslims
    2005 CE: The London Subway Bombers were Muslims
    2004 CE: The Besian Russian School Attackers were Muslims
    2004 CE: The Madrid Train Bombers were Muslims
    2002 CE: The Bali Nightclub Bombers were Muslims
    2002 CE: The Moscow Theatre Attackers were Muslims
    2002 CE: The Beltway Snipers were Muslims
    2001 CE: The Shoe Bomber was a Muslim
    2001 CE: The September 11th Airline Hijackers were Muslims
    2001 CE: The Sbarro’s Pizza store in Jerusalem bomber by Muslims
    2000 CE: The U-S.S. Cole Bombers were Muslims
    1998 CE: The Pan-Am flight #93 Bombers were Muslims
    1998 CE: The Kenyan U.S, Embassy Bombers were Muslims
    1996 CE: The Saudi, Khobar Towers Bombers were Muslims
    1995 CE: The first World Trade Center Bombers were Muslims
    1994 CE: The Buenos Aires Suicide Bombers were Muslims
    1985 CE: The Achille Lauro Cruise Ship Hijackers were Muslims
    1983 CE: The Beirut U.S. Embassy bombers were Muslims
    1983 CE: The Beirut Marine Barracks bombers were Muslims
    1979 CE: The Iranian Embassy Takeover was by Muslims
    1976 CE: The Air France: Entebbe Hijackers were Muslims
    1972 CE: The Israeli Munich Olympic-Team Attackers were Muslims

  4. Adam says:

    I have often wondered why Mr. Cohen feels the need to respond to your posts with things that don’t seem relevant to the content of the posts.

  5. E Pearlman says:

    What about a friend who challenges you?

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