1 Shvat 5778 / Wednesday, January 17, 2018 | Torah Reading: Bo
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Give Me a Friend!    

Give Me a Friend!

You'll be amazed at what having a good friend – a chaver - can do for you. It's so much easier to correct things in yourself when you have a good chaver...



What do our sages mean when they say, give me "Either a friend or death" (Tractate Ta'anit 23a) ?



There's a statement – "Either I have a chaver (friend) or I don't want to live," I want death. What does that mean? The answer is that we learned in Ethics of the Fathers (Avos 1:6), "Make for yourself a Rebbe" – a teacher and spiritual guide – "and a good friend". A Rebbe is very important. But a good friend is a treasure. You should be willing to pay money for a good friend. It says, "I learned very much from my teachers, but I learned even more from my chaveirim (friends) than from my teachers” (Ta'anit 7a).


Good chaveirim change you. It's remarkable how a person is transformed if he associates with good people. Even one good chaver can change your life. But a chaver can ruin you as well. The Path of the Just says that before you choose a chaver, you should examine him more carefully than you examine the food that you're about to eat. Let's say you're about to eat some food that you have some suspicion about. So you take a look, maybe there's some dead fleas inside the food. Maybe there's a hair inside the food. Whatever it is, before you choose a chaver be very, very careful. A bad chaver is worse than dead fleas and some hair in your food. Much worse.


But having a good chaver - you'll be amazed at what it can do for you. The chaver becomes part of you. It's so much easier to correct things in yourself and to gain good qualities if you have a good chaver. 

And of course, there's one more level. When you teach others, when you teach people things, it makes an impression on you. As you tell people things, you start thinking, "Maybe I should listen, too." It makes an impression on you.

So you learn much from your teachers, no question about that. You can gain tremendous things from a Rebbe too. But you must know that a good chaver can be even better than a Rebbe. And therefore, you should be willing to pay money for a good friend. A good friend can change you forever. Someone who will help you become better. That's what life is for, to become better. So a good friend or death! You're alive right now for the purpose of making something out of yourself. So make sure to find that good friend who will criticize you and help you, and make you a better person. If you have a wife who criticizes you, you're a lucky man. It's a treasure. No matter what, you must have a good friend who helps you become a better person. If not, what's the point of being alive?!

Transcribed from Tape # E-155



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Rabbi Avigdor Miller of saintly and blessed memory was one of the great spiritual leaders of Torah Jewry in America during the previous generation. With a courageous commitment to truth, he feared no one but Hashem. As a young man, he left the comforts of America to learn in the Slavodka Yeshiva in Lithuania from 1932-1938. We are honored at Breslev Israel to feature his writings, which we have received from the TorasAvigdor organization in Brooklyn, New York.

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