And finally, you’re hardly likely to be cautious and purposeful in your
service to G-d if your circle of friends runs in the other direction. For
as Ramchal puts it, “even after the need for Divine service and caution
become self-evident to a person” and he sets off in the right path, “he’d
still-and-all might slacken-off … so his friends wouldn’t ridicule him and
to fit in with them”.
Indeed, we all want to fit in, in the end. Not a single soul is happy
being alone for long. Indeed, the very holiest among us have had their
friends, even if they only saw or spoke to them occasionally and spent the
greater part of their time communing with G-d and delving into His Torah.
For friends validate our opinions=2 0and they confirm our place in the
cosmos while easing our fears and allowing us hope. So, when our friends
seem to veer off from where we’re headed, we’re likely to pause and
reconsider. After all, we’d always trusted them, and now they seem to
think we’re somehow off the mark; should we change?
The point is, have the wrong friends and you’ll veer from the path of
truth; have good and wholesome friends, and your search for spiritual
excellence is all but assured.
In sum, we’re advised to be cautious in order to draw close to G-d and to
perfect our beings (Ch. 2) by setting aside time for conscious refection
upon our actions and ways (Ch. 3); by realizing what’s incumbent upon us
(Ch. 4); and by steering clear of over-concern for worldly things,
sarcasm, and bad company (Ch. 5).