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JEWS and NON JEWS-----non-jewish friends

Eliza Posted - 01 January 2001 13:14
Someone recently mentioned to me that it is forbidden to have non-Jewish this true?

MODERATOR Posted - 01 January 2001 14:13
It is forbidden to have friends that are negative influences. If your friends have totally different standards of right and wrong than you do, that is not a good idea.

This does not mean that we cannot interact with goyim in our daily lives, or be friendly to them. Of course we can. But being friends and being friendly are two different things. If by being friends you mean like going out to the movies together, having lunch and just calling on the phone to chat, you definitely should not, for the above reason. If it means saying hello with a smile to your neighbor, being nice and courteous in your place of business and in general creating Kiddush Hashem, the answer is you definitely should.

ptgard2281 Posted - 22 January 2001 17:53
That's ridiculous advice, I'm sorry to say. I mean, if you are strong in your religious background, then being friends with a goy should have no effect.

It's like telling an Orthodox Jew that he shouldn't be friends with a less orthodox Jew because the more orthodox Jew might be negatively influenced. I mean, if a Jew is friends with a goy, then maybe the goy will be positively influenced by the Jew! Ever think about that?

MODERATOR Posted - 22 January 2001 21:12

The Torah disagrees with you. In numerous places we are told to stay away from bad influences. "Stay away from a bad friend (neighbor) and do not be friends with an evil doer" we are told in Pirkei Avos. In Avos D'Reb Nosson it adds, "Do not befriend an evil doer, even to be Mekarev him to Torah" (girsas HaGRA).

You are correct that the good one may influence the bad, and usually there is a little cross pollination from both sides. It is a mistake to believe that if you are frum enough you cannot be influenced by another. true, perhaps you will not be Mechalel Shabbos because of someone, but there are more subtle ways a person can be influenced.

The Chofetz Chaim once moved from Radin to Riga, a large city on the Baltic Sea. He lasted 2 weeks, then moved back. "I couldn't take the Chilul Shabbos I saw in Riga", he said.

They asked him "If that was the problem, why didn't you leave after the first week? Why did you wait till after 2 Shabbosos?"

"Oh," said the Chofetz Chaim. "That's not what I meant. You see, the first Shabbos I was there I got so upset because of the Chilul Shabbos, but I figured maybe I'll stay anyway. Who knows how I can help these people? Then came the second Shabbos, and I was upset again, but not as much as the first Shabbos. I saw I was getting 'used to' Chillul Shabbos. It didn't upset me as much as it used to. When I saw that happening to me, I knew it was time to move out."

ptgard2281 Posted - 29 January 2001 23:25
I can see your point. I am aware that this is discussed in the torah and in Navi . . . probably other places too.

Just from my observations and personal experience, it has done my friends nor me any harm thus far to be friends with goyim. In fact, I am the only Jewish student at my school, and many people are extremely curious to know more about my practices. I also have friends at their colleges with both Jewish and Goyish students . . and those who are friends with the goyim have similar experiences as I do.

So am I supposed to stop being friends with these people and tone it down a few notches even though I seem to have good influence on them without being influenced back?

MODERATOR Posted - 06 February 2001 18:54
Yes, of course. Why not? There is no Mitzvah to teach Goyim about our practices. On the contrary, it will often be prohibited under the Issur of teaching Torah to non-Jews.

Influence is a very subtle thing. If Chazal recommend against it, I would not second guess them. Studies show, for instance, that commercials influence people to buy a certain brand even the viewer does not feel that he was influenced by the commercial. It's hard to know what affects us in what way.

ptgard2281 Posted - 08 February 2001 19:25
So if we aren't supposed to teach goyim torah, then what happens when it comes to conversion? Goyim have to be taught to some extent in order to convert to Judaism, no?

rebel Posted - 13 February 2001 15:32
what about Jewish friends that don’t behave the way they’re supposed to. Are you supposed to stay away from them also?

MODERATOR Posted - 13 February 2001 19:57

There is an exception in Halachah for those Goyim who proactively approach us wanting to convert. We may teach them what they need to know to make a wise and successful decision.


You are not allowed to associate with any bad influences. As it says in Pirkei Avos (ch. 2): "Stay far away from a bad neighbor, and do not be friends with an evil doer". Please see Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary ad loc for the damage that can be done by violating this.

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