Monday, January 18, 2010


A new friend wrote to me recently that he felt bad that the people he used to hang out with ten years previously were all doing the same thing, as back then--nothing. Yet they found him on Facebook,the new place for people who are bored to hangout! I wrote back that the friendships he had back then were probably superficial. Often when one grows, one leave behind those from the past. I left for Yeshiva back in 1970 and returned to LA in '76. When I came back, I felt so alone. Many of my dear friends from the past now viewed me as a religious fanatic, and neither wanted to be with me, nor grow with me. As time has passed I now see many of my peers from my youth as acting and looking really old! Yet the Torah, and especially, the teachings of Chasidus guide us to maintain a joie d'vivre, a youthful optimism and joy of life, while working to grow in knowledge and connectivity with Ha-Shem. When one is constantly aware that "Ein od milvado" (There is none other than Him), then one never feels alone. It is a tremendous challenge, for we live in an unforgiving, selfish, cruel and particularly lonely society. People survive by "hanging out." Yet how many friendships are genuine, without strings attached? As our chazal tell us in Pirkei Avos perek 5: "Any love that is conditional, will cease when the condition upon which it depends vanishes. But if it is unconditional, it will never cease."

I would suggest, therefore to first and foremost honor yourself, body and soul, and try to be misboded daily, reviewing the course of the days events, considering what happened to you and why, and what you could have done differently to better please Ha-Shem. Work hard to love people only to help them, and without any agenda or ulterior motive (even such as kiruv-influencing them to become observant!) And as you do chesed (acts of kindness), know that you are making the A-lmighty smile. What we do does matter. Don't waste time with unnecessary activities or stimulation. The more one works on doing for Ha-Shem and healing the world, the less lonely one feels.

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