PIRKEI AVOS/ETHICS OF THE FATHERS __________________________1:6
6) Yehoshuah ben P'rach'ya said: Make a Rabbi for yourself, acquire a friend for yourself, and give everybody the benefit of the doubt.
There are three spiritual advantages that a friend provides. First, a friend helps one improve the quality of his Torah study. The Talmud (Ta'anis 7a) teaches this idea: "I learned much from my teachers, I learned even more from my friends, and I learned the most from my students."
Second, friends strengthen each other in Mitzvoth observance. Even a friendship where one person is more spiritually inclined than his friend can engender positive results. For instance, let's assume that Shimon is more spiritually advanced than Reuven. Yet, even when Shimon is occasionally tempted to transgress-he will withhold himself because his conduct would have a negative impact on Reuven (i.e., Reuven will think if Shimon does that misdeed, than certainly I can). Instead, Shimon will urge Reuven to strengthen his commitment to Mitzvoth-and in turn- Reuven will see to it that Shimon stays on the proper path. Hence, in a properly structured relationship, good friends will influence each other to spiritual improvement.
The third advantage of friendship is good advice. A person should reveal his secrets to no one but his trusted and proven friend. If he confides in his friend (who sincerely cares for him) concerning all the matters of his life-his friend will give him good counsel-that will illuminate the path to success in his endeavors. Shlomo HaMelech taught (Mishlei 15:22) the importance of taking advice-Thoughts are frustrated when there is no counsel, but through an abundance of counsel they will be established.
Hence, friends are so valuable and indispensable that the Mishnah says acquire a friend, i.e., meaning that it is worth it to befriend him even if you have to spend money or draw him close with gentle words. Once you have established your friendship, do not argue with him if he disagrees with you. No two human beings see all things the same way. Therefore, do not sacrifice your precious friendship over an insignificant issue.
Rebe Akiva said that the essential principle of the Torah is Love your fellow, as you love yourself. If we appreciate the incomparable worth of friends we will see much success, spiritual growth, and happiness in all aspects of our lives.
[Based on the commentary of Rabenu Yonah]
TODAY: Reach out to a friend and strengthen your bond of friendship.