With the inception of Facebook, the term friend has taken on a new meaning. “Friends” has become a term associated with belonging, accepting and “liking”. On Facebook, we often pride ourselves in how many friends we might have, as opposed to the depth of friendship as was the initial idea behind the term.
As a concept, friendship is something upon which we rely as human beings. For some of us, we maintain many friendships with people, perhaps in different places and with differing depths, and our friendships evolve and change as we evolve and change as human beings. Friendship, at its essence, implies a give and take between two individuals. It is two-directional. It includes both give and take, though not necessarily both at the same moment.
As we prepare for this New Year, perhaps we can take several steps as we reflect and consider our friendships old and new:
1. Who are our true friends? Do they know they are our friends? How might we show our appreciation to these individuals for their mutual friendship?
2. In what ways can we extend more effort or energy into our already existing friendships, to deepen them and allow them to better our selves and our lives?
3. Have we been true to our friends, laying out clear expectations with them, and being certain to fulfill those expectations?
4. In what ways have we hurt our friends during this past year, and therefore need to ask teshuvah, or forgiveness, as we enter the Day of Atonement and the New Year?
As I reflect on friendships this year, it is clear to me the importance of friends. Some friends we communicate with regularity; other friends remain in the distance, but nonetheless are worthy and valued friends.
Perhaps during this month of Elul, we might thank a friend for being just that, a friend. Perhaps we might use the month of Elul as a time to reach out to friends of old who have had great influence on us in the past, and still remain important to us, despite the lack of regular interaction.
We were not meant to live in this world alone. From the time of Adam and Eve until today, God intended for us to have other human beings with whom to build relationship and establish differing levels of friendship and connectedness.
May our call to friendship be awakened.
May we heed this call through dialogue and sharing.
Now let the sound of the shofar be heard;
And let our souls be awakened!
Rabbi Debbie Bravo
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