"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

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Friday, August 3, 2012

A Teacher and a Friend

Remember the saying I posted last night? "Make for yourself a teacher and acquire for yourself a friend"? I just realized something: those two could be the same person!

Over the years, various friend have taught me or assisted me with:

  • How to "play pretend"
  • How to stand on my own two feet and rely on myself
  • How to try new things
  • How to love and trust others
And more!

If the Rav (teacher) and the Chaver (friend) are the same person, then we must be willing to learn from everyone around us. Older or younger, anyone might have more experience and/or knowledge in a situation than we do, and we must be receptive to that. At the same time as we are learning from this person, however, we should also try to genuinely enjoy his/her company such that she/he might become a real friend.

Now if only I could apply these ideas to my tumultuous (to say the least) relationship with my younger brother...

1 comment:

  1. There's absolutely a clear and obvious reason in the Mishna why these two things are made distinct and separate. That's not to say you shouldn't learn from everyone, but the Mishna actually says that explicitly in Chapter 4, Mishna 1: Ben Zoma says: Who is wise? He who learns from every person, as it is said:'From all my teachers I grew wise'. The Mishna uses the word "Milamidai" which translates quite nicely to 'my teachers' or 'those who taught me stuff'. The word Rav does not really connote teaching per se. It connotes relative greatness or mastery. A Rav in the Mishnaic sense is not even necessarily a teacher (though admittedly the Artscroll translation I used above does render Rav as 'teacher'). But the connotation (and the Artscroll commentary!) confirms what's actually the case: a primary Torah teacher and transmissor of the tradition and mentor in your Torah studies. You can't have everyone be your guide and authority in Torah study. This is a person who should be somewhat wiser than you (in this matter) and is likely to be someone older than you, and of necessity has more experience and generally more knowledge in that specific, all-important area. Similarly Chaver here is generally considered not merely a friend but an equal or a partner in Torah study - hence the counterpoint in the Misha about the ways to go about forming the relationship: accepting a Torah mentor upon yourself is different from acquiring a partner to work with in your studies. This Mishna doesn't really have anything to do with learning stuff from friends and the specific type of Chaver discussed here is almost certainly going to be by definition not the specific sort of Rav discussed here.



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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!