June 12, 2024
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The Future of Happiness

Highlighting: “The Future of Friendship” by Rebbetzin Feige Twerski. Mosaica Press. 2020. English. Hardcover. ISBN-10 : 1952370108.

It is undeniable that these are unique times and that the recent pandemic has caused both lasting challenges and memorable opportunities. While these times bring a lot of uncertainty and sadness, the blessing of friendship, even in the midst of this unprecedented upheaval, remains a constant.

Unquestionably, we draw on the gift of friendship in our times of joy. A famous Irish poet once commented that “anyone can sympathize with the suffering of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.”

It is also true that almost anyone can sympathize with the suffering of a friend, but not everyone is capable of bringing solace to the suffering of a friend; it is precisely in our most vulnerable moments that we need support, encouragement and a shoulder upon which to lean.

The great Mirer rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, in an essay entitled, “Mai’igra Rama l’Bira Amikta [From a Vaulted Roof to a Very Deep Pit],” addresses the painful chapter of Shaul HaMelech, King Saul, the first king of Israel, who lost his throne to King David after he failed to carry out God’s instructions in the war with Israel’s arch enemy, Amalek. When King Saul’s mentor, Shmuel HaNavi, the prophet Samuel, came to tell Saul that his lapse in leadership was going to cost him the monarchy, Saul, who was the quintessentially humble person, pleaded with the prophet to honor him by appearing with him in the presence of the nation. Rabbi Shmuelevitz points out, most poignantly, that every human being encounters moments of misfortune and imperfection, situations where they need a friend, someone to hold onto, so that they won’t slip into the abyss. King Saul recognized this danger and called on Shmuel HaNavi to be his support in an emotionally fragile time.

In less dramatic times, we depend on our friends for their honest feedback, wise counsel, sense of humor and just being there for us. Let’s connect with our friends. Let’s really help them. All of us have the wherewithal to warm the hearts of others. We can help those we care about feel understood and supported. We can cultivate a listening heart—by climbing out of ourselves, by noticing others and life around us.

You’ll find the inspiration to do so right here in “The Future of Friendship.”

By Rebbetzin Feige Twerski

 

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