We are staying with the mood of Thanksgiving month, the lovely holiday when families are gathered along with close friends and guests, when the spirit of this special holiday is filling us with relaxation and with sentiments of joy and love.
Today’s word of endearment is ‘cha•ver’, a friend. It the Bible the word translates mostly as companion, whereas a friend is ‘re•a’, although there are cases of the contrary. Today however, we use almost only the word ‘cha•ver’.
Let’s ‘zoom in’ on these two words to find our the fine differences between the two.
Yesterday we introduced the expression ‘ve•a•hav•ta le•re•a•cha ka•mo•cha’ which translates as: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’. Here, ‘r•ea’ is a ‘neighbor’ but not necessarily a ‘friend’. ‘Re•a’ is a more general name derived from a verb that means ‘to be around’ to spend time with’. Therefore, rea may be any person we choose or have to spend some time together. ‘Chaver’ however is derived from the verb that means ‘to join together’ to connect’. It hints that the joining or connecting is done out of a choice, willingly. This is then a friend. We can’t choose our parents, our brothers and sisters or uncles and aunts but we do choose our friends. The ‘cha•ver’ is someone who chose to join. The word ‘cha•ve•ra’ is the female form of a friend.
An example of ‘cha•ver’: ‘I am a companion of all those who fear you, and of those who keep your precepts’. Psalms 119:63
An example of ‘re•a’: ‘But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother; and Jonadab was a very cunning man’. II Samuel 13:3
Exactly 19 years ago, in November 1995, President Bill Clinton said in Hebrew during the funeral of Itzhak Rabin, the slain Israeli Prime Minister: ‘SHALOM CHAVER’. These simple words echoed in the heart of many Israelis. Although only a few knew Rabin personally, many were deeply moved by the president’s words and felt that Rabin was their own personal friend. ‘SHALOM CHAVER’ was the most visible bumper sticker on Israeli cars for several years after this obituary words.