Friends being a bad influence
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September 23, 2013 1:36 am at 1:36 am #610707
i learnt that one shouldnt be friends with people who dont live a torah lifestyle as they can be a bad influence on oneself. being a baalas teshuva i still have some friends from way back. some of them were completely secular so i disassociated myself with them. but there is still one friend i am in touch with who ostensibly leads a religious lifestyle, but what religious means is iffy. even non-orthodox call themselves “relgious” whatever that means. but she is somewhere between modern orthodox and conservative. it is hard to draw the line where. she wears short skirts above the knee, goes mixed swimming and is friends with guys but she does keep a strictly kosher diet and mostly keeps shabbos.
so i guess where i am going is wondering if i should keep our friendship despite the potential negative influence since she does keep some of the big stuff or if i am to be honest with myself i need to acknowledge that she does routinely violate many torah prohibitions and i shouldnt stick around with her?September 23, 2013 1:45 am at 1:45 am #976908popupMember
Personally grappled with similar friendships. Firstly, it’s impressive that your able to see that the friendship potentially influence you. But, my thoughts are if you enjoy chatting, phone, hanging out and try to keep how observant you are with respect that your at different places of observance. I think with some of my friends the respect allowed us to remain friends, we don’t talk about religious (“you do and I don’t”) I try to remain positive I’m doing what I feel is the best way and she is doing hers.September 23, 2013 7:44 am at 7:44 am #976910jewishfeminist02Member
Influence can go in both directions. Just as she might influence you away from Torah observance, you might influence her toward it. Maintain the friendship, as it is obviously valuable to you, but monitor yourself– does she put you in awkward situations or is she respectful of your lifestyle? If you find yourself starting to slip because of a comment she made or wishing you could do the things she does, that might be a good time to consider ending it. But for now (unless you have had these thoughts already) there is no need to break off ties.
One more thought: in terms of influence (generally speaking), I actually think that somewhat religious people or those who keep some things are more dangerous than those who are completely secular. After all, how does a person go off the derech? Does he suddenly decide he is done with everything? Maybe in some cases, but usually it is a gradual process– he rationalizes one thing, then another, and eventually everything is gone. Therefore, secular friends are really not a problem because their lifestyles are so drastically different that they are unlikely to influence you. Those who are some degrees less religious than you, but still observe some things, may be more powerful tools of the Satan. I still do not think, though, that you need to cut off ties immediately with this person as long as you maintain a self-awareness.September 23, 2013 2:57 pm at 2:57 pm #976911
i dunno. i was taught that being friends (not just friendly) with people who violate the torah is a no-no. then again i was also taught not to be friends with gentiles. that was even harder since i had some long-time friends i broke up with.September 23, 2013 2:58 pm at 2:58 pm #976912
ultimaterock: kol hakavod to you! May you continue to grow from stregnth to stregnth! We all fall to peer pressure. If you feel that keeping a close connection to this friend may sway you, then back away. I always thought i was strong spiritually and wouldnt fall for certain things. However, I made a close friend and after a few months, i noticed a subtle change in myself. I realized i was unconsiously picking up things that i would never have imagined myself falling for! I quickly backed off and although it took some time, i was able to work on myself and correct what i needed to.
jewishfeminist02: While what you say may be true for some, I feel it can be detrimental to most. Not everyone is strong enough to control the small things that may influence them without them realizing it.September 23, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm #976914YW Moderator-95Moderator
Lost 1970 is a troll. S/he will be blocked if s/he does not stop trolling.September 24, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am #976915OutsiderMember
Think of how telling someone you can’t be friends with them will affect their view of the frum community. As a yet to become Baal Teshuva, I strongly feel that the traditional Jews really need to work on righting their outward image of being unfriendly.
What would Rabbi Hillel or Baal Shem Tov say?
Instead of pushing them away, ask them to be part of your community by inviting to your Shul or for a Shabbas meal.September 24, 2013 1:31 am at 1:31 am #976916zahavasdadParticipant
With the Middos some show here, You dont deserve friends.September 24, 2013 2:10 am at 2:10 am #976917rebdonielMember
If your hafifnik friend is convinced they’re doing things 100% correctly, and if they think their be diavad lifestyle is lechatchila and there’s no chance of having a good hashpa’ah on them, then I can see why they’d make a bad friend. I recently was in a situation where I dated someone for a few months who was seemingly interested in becoming a baalat teshuva; her father was raised frum, but he went off the derech before he hot married to the girl’s very secular mother. At first, she was observant but this waned throughout the relationship and she ultimately decided that being religious wasn’t for her and that she really isn’t religious. The lesson I learned is that deep commitment to Judaism is something that must be present in all I-Thou relationships. I make friends and will ultimately want to marry someone who is as into Judaism as I am; it’s not something that you do on shabbos or when you go to shul. Judaism isn’t a religion. It’s something that either permeates your entire being and influences your entire life and all your decisions, or it doesn’t. You either have Torah or you don’t. My best friends are those who submit themselves wholeheartedly to Torah and the halakhic system and make it their entire life.September 24, 2013 3:25 am at 3:25 am #976918ShanifirstMember
You should be makarav her. Don’t tell her that you want to make her frum but just be like “I love long skirts”! “What would i do without Shabbos”?! “Why do i need to go to a mixed swimming pool when there’s an amazing JCC where it’s only for girls”?! “What do i need boys for”?September 24, 2013 4:06 am at 4:06 am #976919Veltz MeshugenerMember
I think that the posters in this thread have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a “friend” is. To be honest, I don’t have any friends, so it could be me, but my impression from books and the like is that friends are not so much selected as uncovered and evolved. If you bond with someone and care about them, you don’t turn it off because it suits you.September 24, 2013 9:07 am at 9:07 am #976920jewishfeminist02Member
What is “hafifnik”?September 24, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm #976921rebdonielMember
A hafifnik is someone who’d we consider somewhat traditional or observant of certain things but not of others. I guess like conservadoxish to the American mind. It’s an Israeli appellation for those whose religious commitments are kind of half-baked; i.e. they may keep kosher in the home, but not so strictly outside of the home. Such a person is probably leninent about things like premarital sex, or tzniut, or tefillah; they maintain social and synagogue ties to the Orthodox community, but they’re not what we’d think of as frum.September 24, 2013 2:55 pm at 2:55 pm #976922gefenParticipant
Outsider: +1000000September 24, 2013 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #976923
if i recall correctly, my teachers taught that rashi by korach says one should avoid bad neighbors and friends (and have good neighbors and friends), due to the powerful effect they will have on you, with rashi using shevet reuven as an example since they lived near k’has, dasan and aviram they became deeply involved in korach’s rebellion. on the other hand, shevet yehuda and yissaschar and zevulun became great torah scholars since they encamped with moshe rabbeinu.September 25, 2013 2:57 am at 2:57 am #976924ShanifirstMember
You should try to be mekarv her and i wish you much hatzlacha in doing so!September 25, 2013 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #976925popupMember
would veer to caution if your trying to be mekariv her –prob. would mess up your friendship. if she asks why or what of your observances then answer but try avoiding kiruv ppl don’t accept unless they’re interested.September 30, 2013 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #976926
Outsider: what you say is a bit complicated for the following reasons. For someone who has a strong belief system and knows how to ‘deal’ with being mekarev others, then kol hakavod, they should keep a kesher with the ‘not-yet frum’ person. But someone who is just beginning their journey back to Judaism might not have the spiritual stregnth to be close with said person. Backing off a bit from teh relationship might be teh only way. I’m not in the position of saying drop the person completely, but i do feel that to acheive his/her goal, backing off a bit is necessary. Most of us are not on the level of Rabbi Hillel or the Ba’al shem tov that we wont be influenced by the outside world and its enticements.
I’m sorry that you had unpleasant encounters with ‘traditional’ Jews.September 30, 2013 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #976927🐵 ⌨ GamanitParticipant
ultimaterock- if you would have been brought up religious, and are asking whether to become friends with people who are not religious I would not advise it. Since this is not the case, why drop friends that did nothing wrong to you? You’re the one who changed. If they want to drop you, that’s their choice. You didn’t join some crazy cult that makes you leave everything behind. You just have obligations, and if your friends are respectful of that than you can go right on being friends. You may find that you have less in common, and it is likely that you’ll end up drifting apart because of that, but I don’t see the need to deliberately end it. Your friends are not reshaim if they were never raised with religion, and therefore if you can go right on doing mitzvos it’s not a problem.September 30, 2013 8:42 pm at 8:42 pm #976928apushatayidParticipant
Rebbetzin Zahava Braunstien a’h related a story that took place with the Bobover Rebbe, Rav Shlomo Z’l that directly relates to the topic at hand.
The story goes that a certain chassid started relationships with people other chassidim considered “not appropriate”. They tried to dissuade him of these relationships and when unsuccessful, approached the Rebbe who advised them to let him look into the matter and deal with it as necessary. On the appointed day, this chasid came into the Rebbe and they discussed the importance of good chaverim in general and these chaverim and the nature of these chaverim specifically… after some discussion in which the chassid tried to explain his association with these chaverim, something which the Rebbe disagreed with, the Rebbe took another approach. The Rebbe asked him, (of course he said it in yiddish, I am paraphrasing in english), tell me please, what does “usmager” mean. The chassid replied with a blank stare. Again, “Nuuuuu what does usmager mean?” Again, the same blank stare. Once again the Rebbe asked, “usmager, come on, you daven shmone esrei three times a day, in the bracha of vilamalshinim, we say vihazeidim, miheira siaker, usishaber, usmager…tell me please what does usmager mean”. The chassid replied, I dont know. To which the Rebbe replied, in truth I dont either know, but, from his chaverim in the passuk I know it isnt something good. He got the message.September 30, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm #976929writersoulParticipant
Gamanit- I completely agree. “Breaking off ties” is a bit extreme and definitely reminds me of cultishness. If you think it may drag you down then perhaps try to limit and avoid initiating contact and don’t seek out such friendships, but to cut off all contact is extreme.
APY: Call me obtuse, but I don’t get the story…October 1, 2013 2:26 am at 2:26 am #976930nossondMember
First a person has to be a mentch. Baal Teshuvas tend to see things in black and white, but that isnt the way it really is. Somethings are no-nos but can still be thrown at you in a twist of fate, and Hashem wants you do deal with it.
Is it a no-no to marry a goy?? You bet it is. But it was still a twist of fate in Esther Hamalkas life to deal with it.
It is obnoxious to tell someone you are no longer their friend because you are now more religious. Ouch!
Now you have to be a mentch and deal with it. If she still wants to be your friend and respect your choices, then you should be her friend.October 2, 2013 1:46 pm at 1:46 pm #976931
apashutayid: thanks for sharing! That was sharp!
writersoul: It says in Velamalshinim: v’chol harisha’ah krega toveid vihazeidim, miheira siaker, usishaber, usmager.. And in english that means “..and all the wicked ones in a minute be destroyed and the (not sure of the exact meaning of the word zeidim, but its along the lines of ‘evil ones’) quickly uproot and break (not sure of the exact meaning of the word ‘semager’ but its a similar meaning to siaker and sishaber)October 2, 2013 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm #976932apushatayidParticipant
Writersoul. what do you think the story is about? what message do you think it says. there is no right or wrong answer here.October 2, 2013 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #976933oot for lifeParticipant
As one of the above posters mentioned I think there needs to be a definition of what a “friend” is, and what being friends with a person entails.
Each situation must be handled differently and each person should have a Rav or Rebitzen whom he/she can go to in order to seek out advice.
However, if I may be so bold as to state my opinion. Unless it is going to be clearly detrimental to a person there is no reason to break off an interpersonal relationship. I feel that Baalei Tshuva and FFB alike need to strengthen themselves in emunah to the point that we are not afraid to be friends with people because of their “influence”. We have the light and therefore should be able to push away any darkness that they bring.
One of the things the world today lacks is people talking to people. Human interaction has been reduced to texts and tweets and anonymous blog posts like this. We have lost the ability to connect properly. To break one of the last remnants because of hashkafic differences is insane. Now of course I am not saying to go to a party, or be mchalel shabbos h”v to maintain a friendship. Each person has the ability to control an aspect of the relationship.
OP if this is what your rebbeim have told you than I am not one to argue. And especially if you are single it is even more difficult. But please think about the benefits for yourself, for your friends, and for all of klal yisroel.
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