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12.01 Baal HaSulam,

Baal HaSulam, Letter No 13

Make an effort to see the merits of the friends and not their faults at all, and connect in true love, together, until “Love will cover all crimes.”

12.02 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 62, “Descends and Incites, Ascends and Complains”

One who works in purity, cannot complain about others and always complains about himself, and sees others in a better degree than he feels himself.

12.03 RABASH,

Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

There are two conditions to obtaining the greatness: 1) Always listen and assume appreciation of the environment to the extent that they exaggerate. 2) The environment should be great, as it is written, ‘In the multitude of people is the king’s glory.’

“To receive the first condition, each student must feel that he is the smallest among all the friends. In that state, one can receive the appreciation of the greatness from everyone, since the great cannot receive from a smaller one, much less be impressed by his words. Rather, only the small is impressed by the appreciation of the great.

“And for the second condition, each student must extol the virtues of each friend and cherish him as though he were the greatest in the generation. Then the environment will affect him as a sufficiently great environment, since quality is more important than quantity.”

12.04 RABASH,

Article No. 17 (1984), “Concerning the Importance of Friends”

If one has love of friends, the rule in love is that you want to see the friends’ merits and not their faults. Hence, if one sees some fault in one’s friend, it is not a sign that his friend is at fault, but that the seer is at fault, meaning that because his love of friends is flawed, he sees faults in his friend.

Therefore, now he should not see to his friend’s correction. Rather, he himself needs correction. It follows from the above-said that he should not see to the correction of his friend’s faults, which he sees in his friend, but he himself needs to correct the flaw he has created in the love of friends. And when he corrects himself, he will see only his friend’s merits and not his faults.

12.05 RABASH,

Article No. 21 (1986), “Concerning Above Reason”

Between friends, if he can see his friend’s virtue within reason, it is all the better.

And yet, the nature of the body is to the contrary—it always sees his friend’s fault and not his virtues. This is why our sages said, “Judge every person favorably.” In other words, although within reason you see that your friend is wrong, you should still try to judge him favorably. And this can be above reason. That is, although logically he cannot justify him, above reason he can justify him nonetheless.

However, if he can justify him within reason, this is certainly better.

12.06 RABASH,

Article No. 1 (1985), “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 2”

After he has bonded with a group of people who wish to achieve the degree of love of the Creator, and he wishes to take from them the strength to work in order to bestow and be moved by their words about the necessity for obtaining the love of the Creator, he must regard each friend in the group as greater than himself.

It was written that one is not impressed by the society or takes their appreciation of something unless he regards the society as greater than himself. This is the reason why each one must feel that he is the smallest of them all, since one who is great cannot receive from one who is smaller than himself, much less be impressed by his words. Rather, it is only the smaller one who is impressed through appreciating the greater one.

 12.07 RABASH,

Article No. 21 (1986) “Concerning Above Reason”

The envy that he feels toward the friends when he sees that they have better qualities than his own. It motivates him to acquire their good qualities, which he doesn’t have and of which he is jealous. Thus, through the society, he gains new qualities that he adopts by seeing that they are at a higher degree than his, and he is envious of them. This is the reason why now he can be greater than when he didn’t have a society, since he acquires new powers through the society.

12.08 RABASH,

Article No. 17, (1984), “Concerning the Importance of Friends”

How can one consider one’s friend greater than himself when he can see that his own merits are greater than his friend’s, that he is more talented and has better natural qualities? There are two ways to understand this:

  1. He is going with faith above reason: once he has chosen him as a friend, he appreciates him above reason.
  2. This is more natural—within reason. If he has decided to accept the other as a friend, and works on himself to love him, then it is natural with love to see only good things. And even though there are bad things in one’s friend, he cannot see them, as it is written, “love covers all transgressions.”

12.09 RABASH,

Article No. 21 (1986), “Concerning Above Reason”

Can be obtained by adhesion of friends—new qualities by which they will be qualified to achieve Dvekut with the Creator. And all this can be said while he sees the merits of the friends. At that time, it is relevant to say that he should learn from their actions. But when he sees that he is better qualified than they are, there is nothing he can receive from the friends.

This is why they said that when the evil inclination comes and shows him the lowliness of the friends, he should go above reason. But certainly, it would be better and more successful if he could see within reason that the friends are at a higher degree than his own. With that we can understand the prayer that Rabbi Elimelech had written for us, “Let our hearts see the virtues of our friends, and not their faults.”

12.10 Likutey Etzot,

“Peace,” Item 10

One must not look at one’s friend unfavorably, finding in him precisely that which is not good and searching for flaws in his friend’s work. On the contrary, one must only look at the good and always search and find in him merit and good, and by this there will be peace with everything.

12.11 Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein,

Maor VaShemesh

The main thing that brings one to love another is by each one being lowly and despicable in his own eyes, always finding faults in everything he does, and seeing the righteousness and actions of one’s friend as very great in his eyes. By this he comes to love his friend and be in unity with him. Conversely, if he is great in his own eyes and feels proud, he naturally sees his friend’s faults and by this comes to hate him, since his friend is very lowly in his eyes.

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