Last post reminds me of a different mechaneches who got a little too involved in student friendships, and how that made me a new friend.
I was over at Esther’s house for Shabbos. Esther’s older sister, Shifra, had a friend over as well. Over the chicken soup, Shifra related how earlier that day, her mechaneches had pulled her over to discuss why she had no friends.
“I don’t?” Shifra asked, puzzled. She was a loud, enthusiastic type, and easily commanded an audience. But an audience, the teacher gently reminded her, doesn’t mean friends.
“But you’re my friend, right?” Shifra turns to her friend, who is sitting next to her. “You better be, because you’re here all Shabbos.”
“Of course I’m your friend,” the friend agreed.
“She better be,” said Shifra and Esther’s father. “I’m paying her enough!”
“Wait, my father is paying you to be my friend?!” Shifra demanded.
“Well yeah,” agreed the friend. “Because otherwise you wouldn’t have any.”
“I’m just looking out for you,” the father said.
“Wait wait!” Now it was my turn to speak up. “Shifra’s friends get paid?! What about Esther’s friends?”
“Esther doesn’t need the extra help. She can make her own friends.”
“But that’s not fair. I want to get paid to be a friend. Can I be Shifra’s friend too?”
“Submit an application after Shabbos. But I don’t see why not.”
“Oh great,” Esther groused. “Not only does she steal my clothes, now she also steals my friends. It’s not fair.”
“I’ll still be your friend,” I offered generously. “Just now I’ll have two friends to visit here.”
And that’s how I became my friend’s sister’s professional Friend.
We are still friends today, but I do it for free.
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