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Shabbat Parashat R'ei 5773

Ein Ayah: Friends on the Inside or the Outside?

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:315)

Gemara: Rebbe said: One should never have too many friends inside his home, as the pasuk says: “A man of friends will cause damage” (Mishlei 18:24).


Ein Ayah: The foundation of good attributes is that every attribute should find its proper place. Everything should keep its character and not be altered even in order to acquire something good.

Family life is the beginning of a life of justice. After it is ensured, there is value in a life that includes a circle of friends outside family relationships. While expanding these external relationships, one must be careful not to disrupt family life. The world as a whole is more successful when its constituent components are on a firm and proper setting, whether in the realm of the physical or that of the spirit. Only then can people leave the boundaries of their internal setting to take part in activities that effect members of the collective.

When one has too many friends within the home, and they are thereby overly involved in that setting, one will not sufficiently set the tone in his own home, as his friends will have an unwanted influence on it. This is a painful phenomenon, which stems from the flawed approach that, in order to accommodate others, one totally nullifies the proper power of the individual.

Rather, one should have beloved friends, but on condition that they do not change the character of the household, which he runs as he knows to do as an individual. Then he will succeed. Leaving one’s self-recognition and relying upon the tendency to copy others is a blueprint for failure. There are so many ways in which one person cannot be a proper model for his counterpart; the “student” of his friend’s behavior must be able to discern which parts of his friend’s behavior he can accept and which he is wise to dismiss. That is why friends should be in an outer circle and should be let into the home at the appropriate times. They should not be there so much that the head of the home loses his control over its character.


Let Each Man Rule in His Home

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:316)


Gemara: A person should not appoint a guardian within his own home.


Ein Ayah: There are two opposite causes for a person to relinquish his personal dominion within his own home. One is when he is very weak in character and gives over his control over matters of his home to society around him. He might think that by having more people in his home, he will improve his life. If one has this approach when living among the nations, he is susceptible to deteriorating to the point that he will appreciate foreign practices and culture than his own legacy of Torah and Jewish ways.

Sometimes there is an opposite phenomenon. One is so strong and active that he leaves his home to others because he feels the need to involve himself in bigger, more public matters. This is very dangerous, as it causes the collapse of his personal life, in which case he will not succeed in his public activities either. Therefore, one should always stay within the framework of his home and surroundings, just that he should make doorways and windows leading out from his home so that he can relate to that which is outside and public. When this approach becomes the norm, the sons will be loyal to their nation and will cling to the G-d of Israel and keep His covenant, while still loving and being loved by all people.

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This edition of
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