Let us shed light on several questions related to the notion of “love of friends”:
1. What ground is there for the need to attain love of friends?
2. Should I choose the friends, and should they choose me?
3. Should each friend openly express his feelings toward the other group members, or is it enough for him to feel love for them in his heart, without expressing this feeling externally? Should he remain modest and not boast about his achievement?
Certainly, every person should openly express the love of friends that is in his heart because open expression of this feeling can awaken the friends’ hearts to the same. As a result, the friends’ feelings will unite into a common feeling, which will be much greater than their arithmetic sum.
Thus, every member of the group will receive a strong feeling of love of friends and will also sense a need to expand this feeling. On the other hand, if the group members do not express their feelings openly, they cannot be imbued with the common, collective force and overcome their personal egoism.
In this case, it is very difficult to view the friend in a positive light. Every person thinks that he is the only righteous one and that only he loves his friends, while they do not reciprocate his feelings.
It turns out that a person’s forces are too weak to be able to attain love for his friend and to express his feelings explicitly instead of hiding them.
One must constantly remind oneself of the purpose of the group’s existence since otherwise, one’s egoism will try to blur this goal because its sole concern at all times is its own benefit.
A person needs the group in order to attain the quality of being engrossed in the thought of delighting his friends without requiring anything in return, and not in order for the group to help fulfill his egoistic desires. After all, if every group member expects only to receive help from others, the group is founded on egoism and works only to increase it. In this case, a person sees the group only as a means to satisfy his egoistic needs.
Therefore, we must keep in mind that the group must be built upon love for the neighbor. What every group member must receive from the group is love for the neighbor and hatred for his own egoism. When a person sees that his friend tries to suppress his egoism, this gives him additional forces to fight his own egoism. Then all of the friends’ intentions merge into one whole. Thus, if the group consists of ten members, each of them will receive the forces of all ten friends who suppress their egoism and aspire toward love for the neighbor.
But if the group members do not express their feelings toward one another due to their feigned modesty, then their feelings do not grow stronger and each of them gradually loses the desire to progress towards love for the neighbor and regresses back to self-love.
(Based on Rabash’s article “Love of Friends (2))