Sunday, July 12, 2009

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Make a Rav, Buy a Friend

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Pirke Avos (Ethics of our Fathers) teaches "make for yourself a rav (rabbi), buy for yourself a friend". My daughter came to me confused, "make" a rav, "buy" a friend??? How does one "make" a rav, and come on...buy a friend?

One "makes" for _themselves_ a rav by accepting the authority of the rabbi. By realizing that one doesn't have all the answers, that there is someone else who with years of training in Torah has wisdom and direction that one should follow. By accepting, voluntarily, the authority of one greater than oneself. This is not something one asks, not something one can buy, it's something one 'makes' for oneself.

In today's world, no longer a time of kings and queens, a time in the Western world where every authority is questioned, this is harder than one might think. Yet, if we cannot accept even an authority, how can we accept The Authority?

Buy for yourself a friend sounds pretty cynical. However, it actually teaches the secret of friendship. Friends are people who do for each other. Whether it's as simple as a listening ear or helping each other in various ways, true friendship is bought with selfless acts to the other.

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