What qualities should a person look for in a friend?
When you are looking for a friend, the Mesilas Yesharim says, be more careful than when you choose the food that you eat. Because a friend can chalila be a ruination. Hakadosh Baruch Hu should save us from such friends like Rechavom ben Shlomo had. His good friends gave him advice and he caused the break – the aseres hashvotim broke off because of that.
Now friends – you have to look for somebody first of all a person who is a frum shomer mitzvos, number one, no question about that. Number two, he shouldn't be an am ha'aretz, he should be a ben torah. You associate only with bnei torah. Also he should be a person who has good character, because midos are contagious. Midos are contagious.
Then the question is, what do you need good friends for? Who needs friends? The answer is, only to accomplish certain things – if he helps you learn together with him, if he helps you become better. Friends for friendship alone is meaningless! You hear that chiddush? The Chofetz Chaim didn't cultivate friends. Who needs friends? You're in this world to be with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Friends you need that in case they will give you instruction, when they see you're not doing something right, or you need somebody to emulate, to be ashamed in case you do something wrong, because you associate with good people, alright. Otherwise friendship in itself is a meaningless ideal.
When somebody says I have no friends, so you say what do you need friends for?
Hakadosh Baruch Hu is your best friend. He's always around. If you're lonesome, so get married and have children, who needs more than that? Oh I want more than that. No, if that's the case so you're a man that wants society. Society is a waste of time. You go visit your friend, sit in his house, you are chewing the rag with him, and your wife is chewing the rag with his wife, and talking and talking, what's the purpose? It's a bitul torah, it's a waste of time – the friendship doesn't mean a thing.
Unless friendship is for the purpose of avodas Hashem. Let's say you and your friend get together, and you're learning together, you're learning hashkofo together, or mussar, yiras shomayim together, alright, that's a friend.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210