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choose yourself a rav, buy yourself a friend

Rabbi David SperlingSivan 3, 5780
21
Question
Please help me understand deeper meaning .thank you.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are, of course, referring to the Mishna in Pirkay Avot (1,6) that states "Yehoshua ben Prachiah and Nitai HaArbeili received from them (Yossi ben Yoezer and Yossi ben Yochanan). Yehoshua said: Make for yourself a Rav (a teacher); acquire for yourself a friend; and judge every person on the positive side." There are many wonderful and special commentaries on this mishna, let me explain just one thought. There are two special relationships a person needs outside of their house (see the preceding Mishna), that of someone to learn from, and someone to share with. That is, someone above you, and someone equal to you. With these two relationships, one then moves onto relating to those removed from you. That is there are three directions in connection to one's relationships – receiving from above, sharing with an equal, and relating to those (below) removed from us. When it comes to the friend, one needs to "acquire" them. That is, they should be connected to oneself totally just like something a person buys. The friendship should be deep and total, just as an acquisition. On the other hand, one's teacher (the Rav) is never acquired. A person's teacher should not be viewed as something that is "theirs" – but rather one should approach a teacher with a sense of modesty and humbleness. Just to be "allowed" to learn from them is a merit. So "make a Rav" and "acquire a friend". With these two in hand, one can now turn to their relationship with the rest of the world. How should we look at every person? One should "judge every person on the positive side." I hope this is of some help – Blessings.
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