Malicious Tongues, Fawning Friends

וְהַרְחִיקֵֽנוּ מֵאָדָם רָע וּמֵחָבֵר רָע

Keep us away from malicious tongues  and fawning friends

Many of us, and especially those who have made a commitment to following a spiritual path within community,  are aware of the need for a balanced regimen of love  and reproof  from our companions. Without it, focus becomes blurred, alignments are bent crooked, and self-deception reigns unchecked.

Such love and reproof are not free-form activities, but Torah-sanctioned instructions whose fulfillment is informed by subtle rules, by courtesy and by respect. Rebuke, no matter how precise, is rarely heeded if its source is not trustworthy;  deserved praise that becomes fulsome may sink into flattery, surely one of the more mischievous potions that humanity has ever concocted.

Help us, H’, to keep good company.

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