Friendship

Question

What is the Jewish point-of-view regarding friendships with gentiles (not for the purpose of marriage)? Is it better be friends with a Jew who has little in common to make a friendship successful, or with a non-Jew who has a lot in common and with whom one feels close? In general, should Jewish status be a determining factor in who one decides to give priority to being friendly with? Or can one feel free to pick their friends based on who has the most in common, regardless of religion?

2 years

Answers

  1. The wonderful dimension with friendships is that we are very much influenced by them. Paradoxically, that is also the problem with friendships – that we are very much influenced by them. When a friendship is healthy and nurturing there is very little better. When a friendship leads a person away from everything that they hold dear then the friendship is destructive.

    Subsequently, it is very hard to answer your question definitively, as a non-Jewish friend can be the most incredible source of strength and support and, in the same way, a Jewish friend can be the opposite. That means that each person needs to monitor their friendships to make sure that they are not drawing us away from what we truly aspire to be. So powerful is friendship that the last of the the fifteen Brachot that we recite each morning in the Birkat haShachar asks Hashem to guard us from “bad friends.”

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team