A Promise for Partnership
Question: I promised a friend of mine to form a chavruta partnership for learning Daf Yomi together. In the meantime a more suitable partner approached me. What is the right thing to do?
Answer: A similar question was presented to Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, the rav of the Ramat Elchanan community in Bnei Brak, who laid down the following guidelines:
- If your friend did not seek another partner because he was relying on you and will remain without any partner if you desert him, it would be considered a lack of faithfulness for you to abandon him. Some support for this can be found in the gemara (Mesechta Kiddushin 45) which states that a Jew is not suspected of backing out of his promise because the Prophet Tzefania describes the Jewish people as ones who keep their word.
- Should your intention to abandon the partner you planned to study with be based on a discovery that there are substantial problems with being his chavruta, your promise was then based on an error and is not binding in any way.
- If the learning partner you now wish to join is not merely preferable to the first, but one who is an outstanding scholar offering a rare opportunity for your growth, there are grounds for going with him since anyone in such a situation would do the same.