It was said here recently that the Chofetz Chaim didn’t have any cronies, any friends, with whom he spent a lot of time. But didn’t you tell us that Chazal teach קנה לך חבר, that a friend is so important that you should even be willing to pay for a good friend?
When you have a chaver it doesn’t mean a crony. A chaver means somebody who helps you in your business. Let’s say you have a partner who helps you make money; so after you finish your business hours you go home and you forget about him. Do you have to call him up late at night and talk to him all hours of the night?! You have to talk to him and confide in him all your private affairs?! No! He’s a chaver in business, that’s all.
And if you have a chaver in learning, so he’s a chaver in learning. He’s your friend who helps you in the business of learning. But he’s not a crony, someone who will help you waste away your life. You don’t need a chaver in everything in life! Even a husband and wife, I must tell you the truth, they’re not chaveirim completely. Each one lives their own life.
And therefore, the Chofetz Chaim was a busy man. He helped everyone, and was kind to everyone, but he didn’t have cronies; he didn’t have chaverim just for the purpose of being busy with people. And he had one very important chaver – Hakodosh Boruch Hu. And he was spending all of his time with Him. And that chaver was his only true friend.
TAPE # 804 (September 1990)