Two of my very close friends got into a fight with each other. They both want to remain friends with me, but not with the one another. It’s starting to place way too much pressure on me. I’m at a loss of how to handle this situation. I do not want to lose either of them as friends – but if this continues I’m concerned that I will lose both of them. It would be impossible for me to choose one over the other. I need HELP – and quick.
Friend of the Un-friends
My compliments to you as you are clearly of the disciples of Aharon Hacohen who was “ohev shalom v’rodef shalom”- he loved peace and ran after peace. And we know he had a famous method of bringing peace between former friends. He would go to each one and tell them that the other one really wanted to reconcile, even though neither one ever told him that was their intention.
You obviously know the circumstances that caused this feud between your friends. And you could probably find an opening to tell each one exactly as Aharon did. Question is – are you allowed to lie? If it’s not true, is it permitted to tell a white lie in the name of peace?
There is an interesting debate about this in the gemara. When you’re dancing at a wedding, do you praise the bride to the groom as she is, or do you say that she is beautiful and a “catch”? Beit Shammai asks – “What if she is lame and blind?” Beit Hillel answers, “When someone makes a purchase, do we praise it or criticize it?” Was Beit Hillel condoning lying?
The answer is, she IS beautiful, at least in the eyes of the groom, you just didn’t look hard enough.
Do your friends REALLY want to make up? The answer is a resounding YES! No matter what the cause, people who have been friends for so long don’t want the discomfort of not being at peace with each other. They just may not be willing to admit it. And you understand that they would both apologize; they just don’t want to be first.
Find the opening. Tell each one the other wants peace. You will be successful.
In the merit of this great mitzvah of bringing shalom to members of our community, Hashem should bless you with a long, healthy life until 123. Like Aharon.
With deepest admiration,