Losing old friends

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1 Response

  1. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “Few are the lifetime friends, the soul mates described by Montaigne in his lament over his deceased friend Etienne La Boetie: “If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.” But even the less intense friendships are important markers of time past.”

    Montaigne seems to be describing a situation of ahavah sh’ena teluyah b’davar. In the less intense cases of friendships, however, friendships may also survive because mutual efforts were made to overcome differences. I know of one family that will accommodate their religious relatives at family functions without hassle: paper plates, takeout food, etc. That is because the former doesn’t feel threatened by their newly observant relatives.

    Interestingly, I have experienced the opposite type of occurrence: when a former friend or acquaintance becomes irreligious, or less observant. Then the question becomes if the two parties can maintain their original connection.

    One Z’man, I studied with a chavrusa who happened to be chassidish. A few years later, I met him on the subway without a yarmulka. Evidently, he had some complications in his life that lead to that point, but it was rather shocking.

    I decided to act normally, and we conversed for the duration of the ride. It was not as if I was ever a close friend, but I think that if one has any type of a relationship, then one person should see in the other person the previous relationship, no matter what vicissitudes occur subsequently in either parties’ lifetime.

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