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Devrei Torah relating to the weekly Parsha.

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Understanding the sins of R' Akiva's students - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #617
How can we understand the sins of the talmidim of Rabbi Akiva that caused so many to die?

There's a certain tradition that in the time of Sefira that they perished by a plague; now I'll explain this to you. The Jewish nation is a nation that blames itself for everything. Whatever happens they say it's our fault, and that's a virtue, even if it's not, because if you blame yourself you look for faults, and once you'll look for faults, you'll discover them and you'll become perfect. The people who don't look for faults and don't blame themselves, are full of sins and full of imperfections. It's only when people look.... if you look for Chometz you might find, if you don't look...You have Chometz stacked away, everybody has some Chometz like that, a bottle of whiskey here… if you don't look, you'll have Chometz in your possession. A Jew always looks for Chometz all year around and therefore he discovers wrong things of which he rids himself.

There's a plague, and so the disciples of Rabbi Akiva said chotonu, it's our fault, we weren't polite enough to our comrades; we mistreated them. How do we know it's true? Did there come a prophet or a bas kol from heaven and say you wicked fellows, you were so rude to each other, that's why I am sending a plague on you? No such thing; it was a plague! Plagues come because of germs, plagues come because of other reasons, but they didn't say that; they said it's our fault.

Now what happened? It could be that in their fire of discussing Torah one said to the other one, you ignoramus how could you say such a thing? You hear it every day! But there they were such great men that they blamed themselves.

Now we don't have any bas kol that tells us that's the reason, they themselves told us that. They searched in their hearts and they couldn't find anything, if they could find other sins they would've told us for these sins we are being punished, but they couldn't find anything! So finally they said because lo nuhagu kovod zeh l'zeh, it's probably because we weren't polite enough to each other.

That's a monument, that's a testimony to the greatness of the old generations. They blamed themselves, and therefore today every Sefira we think about it, and we decide we are going to be more and more polite to each other; that's how we should learn.

What do we do however? We are as rough and rude to each other as possible! Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, neighbors are rough and rude to each other! Everybody is rude to some extent; they shouldn't be, but they are.These rude people are sitting and saying, talmidei Rabbi Akiva oh, they deserve what they got.

And so let's learn from them, and let's understand that we are a thousand times worse. What's considered impoliteness among them, would be among us the best etiquette.

This is a unique method of assigning the offerings, and it is found nowhere else. This method of lots symbolizes a choice by Hashem and not by men, as if to say: Israel is chosen by Hashem as a holy offering, whereas the nations (symbolized by the goat of Azazel) are rejected by Hashem. Instead of being offered to Hashem, the goat of Azazel is sent away for destruction in the wilderness (16:22). All this is to be achieved not by the choice (i.e. power) of men but by Hashem's choice which the lots symbolize. Azazel literally means: "the strong one shall depart" (as in Iyov 14:11 - "as the waters depart from the sea," where Azel is used in the sense of "coming to an end." Also in Dvarim 32:36 - "When He sees that the power is gone," where Azlas denotes "failing" or "coming to an end").

Thus the nations crumble away and disappear, one after the other; but Hashemhas chosen His people Israel forever. Both goats are offerings to Hashem, in two different ways; one atones by our coming closer to Hashem, and the second atones by our going further away from the nations.  

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 4/28/2022 7:31 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Pirkei Avos 4, 5 - Parshas Ki Sisa
Pirkei Avos 4, 5 | פרקי אבות ד, ה
,רבי יוחנן בן ברוקא אומר כל המחלל שם שמים בסתר נפרעין ממנו בגלוי
אחד שוגג ואחד מזיד בחילול השם (אבות ד:ה)
Rebbe Yochanan ben Broka says "One who desecrates the Name of Heaven in private, punishment will be extracted from him in public, unintentional or intentional, both are alike regarding desecration of His Name."

It seems that when it comes to chillul Hashem the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Firstly, even if the chillul Hashem was committed privately the transgressor is punished publicly. Additionally, even if the chillul Hashem was created unintentionally, the offender is punished just as if he had created a chillul Hashem intentionally. How are we to understand the justice of the Divine Court?

The Gemara (Yoma 86a) describes chillul Hashem as behavior that causes people to be lax in their Torah observance or to look down at those who learn or observe the Torah. Thus, by its very essence, a chillul Hashem can only be affected if one misbehaved in front of another person and not in complete privacy. The Maharal explains that when the Tanna states that the desecration of Hashem was in private, he merely meant that it was not well known since only a few people were privy to what had occurred. Whether the chillul Hashem was public or private, nevertheless, His Name was desecrated in the eyes of others. Moreover, whether the chillul Hashem was intentional or not, the bottom line is that that His Name was desecrated.

Chazal tell us (ibid.) that this aveirah is so severe that even teshuvah, Yom Kippur and suffering all combined, do not have the ability to completely erase the sin. Only at the time of death can this aveirah be totally cleansed. However, Rabbeinu Yonah (Sha'arei Teshuva 4:5) writes that there is a way to rectify even the sin of chillul Hashem. If one creates a kiddush Hashem by glorifying the Name of Hashem in the eyes of the populace, then he has in effect reversed the desecration by bringing glory to Hashem.

However, if one does not make an effort to create a kiddush Hashem, then Hashem Himself must create the Kiddush Hashem and restore His glory to the level that it was at previous to the desecration. This is accomplished by publicly punishing the wrongdoer. When people behold the punishment of a transgressor, it brings glory to Hashem's Name. When the Tanna asserts that an unintentional and intentional chillul Hashem are equal, he meant that although the intentional chillul Hashem begets a more severe punishment, both are punished in a public forum. Even an unintentional chillul Hashem must be rectified and the public retribution creates the necessary kiddush Hashem.

Indeed, a chillul Hashem is a terrible sin. Yet, the converse is also true. Making a kiddush Hashem is a tremendous zechus that not only has the ability to rectify a chillul Hashem; it is also a great mitzvah that cannot amply be rewarded in this world.

A practical suggestion to help implement this idea: Behave in a way (e.g. give in graciously during an argument) that would make people comment, "Ploni who learned Torah - observe how beautiful are his ways and how respectable is his conduct" (ibid. Yoma 86a).


Posted 2/17/2022 11:06 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Teaching children to appreciate the world - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #601
Is it possible to teach children to appreciate the world?
Absolutely, that's where it should be taught. And you should teach a child and tell him, isn't it beautiful that the sun is shining now? Explain the benefits of the sun. In the summertime the sun warms you, walk on the sunny side of the street, and walk on the sunny side of life!

The sun gives vitamins to you as it hits your skin, the sun gives you light, and it's all free energy, no landlord will send you a bill. Con Ed won't send you a bill. It's so beautiful, the sunlight.

It's a moshol of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. The gemara says the sun is a moshol of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Just like the sun floods the world with happiness, light and joy, so does Hakadosh Baruch Hu. And you can teach children to enjoy sun… but we have to teach ourselves too, by the way, let's enjoy the sun.

We make the biggest Bracha in davening on the sun, doesn't it show the hypocrisy among us? The longest Bracha in davening is on the sun, baruch ata Hashem yotzer ohr, and it concludes yotzer ha'meoros, and the malachim are so excited over the sun that they say, kadosh, kadosh, kadosh b'raash gadol, with great excitement, and we who are the recipients of all this, we are not interested, we are asleep.

So there is a lot of work to be done, on children, and on ourselves.

The following Dvar Torah is taken from "The Beginning"
אפרש את־כפי אל־יהוה הקלות יחדלון והברד לא יהיה־עוד למען תדע כי ליהוה הארץ
(וארא ט:כט)
I shall spread out my palms to Hashem, the noises shall cease, and the hail shall be no longer, in order that you should know that the world belongs to Hashem.
(Va'eira 9:29)
The Plagues serve as models: when misfortune comes, men are expected to understand that Hashem is the author of the misfortune ("In order that you know that I am Hashem" - 7:17); so also when men are relieved of any misfortune, they are required to know that it is Hashem who is the cause of their relief.

Not only the Plagues come from Him, and not only the removal of the Plagues are His doing, but whatever transpires in the world is His doing, because "the world belongs to Hashem". When the hail ceased when Moshe spread his hands to Hashem, it was a demonstration of Hashem's power similar to the demonstration when the hail began at the command of Hashem.

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 12/31/2021 12:55 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (2)


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Real happiness & poverty - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #590
The Jews in Europe were tzaddikim a thousand years ago, why did they live in such poverty?

Let me explain something to you: what do you think is happiness? The fact that you have rugs on your
floor? You must know happiness consists of human emotions. There is not the slightest question that the
Jews a thousand years ago enjoyed more real happiness than anybody does today.

Even though they were persecuted, you must realize, first of all there were Jewish wealthy men. The
history books give you the wrong perspective; there were wealthy Jews in every generation, and the
wealthy Jews took care of the poor Jews. There was never so much tzadaka in the world as among Jews.
In addition, the Jews had a family life. The Jews were under the leadership of the bais din, and the bais
din saw to it that there was shalom bayis. In the ancient times everybody respected his parents. When
an old parent fell ill, the bais din saw to it that the sons and the daughters took care of their parents. We
have no idea how powerful was the bais din in Europe; even the church supported the authority of the
bais din. The Jews had their own community life; Simchas Torah was to them the most joyous day, we
have no idea how much they enjoyed it, and Shavuos. Shabbos was a glorious day, then they really
appreciated the Shabbos.

Don't make any errors. When it came to solid happiness, the ancient Jew sucked the honey of this world!
It's only today that we measure happiness by other standards that we fail to understand that we are not
the ones that are happy. Therefore when you look back on the little hut of the ancient Jew, where the wife
stood over a tripod and tried to prepare for Shabbos with the meager supplies that she had...

I'll tell you a little story. Once there was a gadol who was traveling, and in his travels he came to a place
and asked if he can eat there for Shabbos. So they said yes. There were thirty guests for Shabbos; he was
one of thirty guests, a very poor hut. Now, how did they get food for Shabbos? She worked in a place
where she plucked the feathers of chickens, so they used to give her the legs of the chicken – not the upper
part, the bottom part of the legs. From that she made a leg jelly, she made soup, and she cooked delicacies,
and she fed 30 guests every Shabbos… and they sang zemiros.

And when that gadol left that place, he said he never saw such a happy place like that poor home, because
it's not wealth, it's the quality of understanding what life is that makes people happy. Eizehu ashir
ha'someiach b'chelko, not the one who has money, the one who is happy with what he has. Our forefathers
learned that because they lived according to Torah ideals.

As the years went by and the Torah ideals began to become more and more dim, then unhappiness began
to come in.


Posted 10/14/2021 10:21 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Why work, if Parnassa is decreed on Rosh Hashana? A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #586
If a man's parnassa is decreed on Rosh Hashana, so why should he have to go out and work, let him lie in bed all day long?

Here is how it's decreed; it's decreed on Rosh Hashana that if you'll do this and this, you'll get
this and this – that's what's decreed. If you'll do something else you'll get this. We think it's a
simple thing; that it's written, it's inscribed such an amount and that's all. Hakadosh Baruch
Hu does things in a subtle way; it's far beyond the ability of humans to understand. Certainly
it's decreed… what's decreed?
If it's decreed that a man will have a full year of happiness for the year to come, then he
decides to bang his head against a brick wall just for fun, he wants to bang it three or four
times smartly against the brick wall. So he'll say if it's decreed that I'm going to live happily,
so the wall will be as soft as mush. No it won't be; it'll be hard as brick. So it's decreed based on
certain conditions, and if he goes with those conditions that's what he's going to get, what's
decreed.
However if a man tries to outdo what was decreed, then he's going to be disappointed; there
are maximums that he's given.

Rav Miller on the Parsha: Nitzavim

(יט:ל דברים (בחיים ובחרת And you shall choose life. (Devorim
30:19)

This Mitzvah is one of the highest degrees (Shaare Teshuvah III:17). This means: not only does
Hashem allow us the Free-Will to choose (a principle that materialist psychologists deny), but
He also gives us the information that we possess the ability of Free-Will. But not only this, but
Hashem in His great kindliness also urges us to choose Life. This means that when we keep
His Torah we not only are choosing Life, but we are pleasing Hashem who "desires Life"
(Yecheskeel 18:23) for us. Thus whenever a good deed is done, we can beforehand add the
intention of fulfilling this Mitzvah of "choosing Life" in order to cause pleasure to Hashem
Who so greatly is interested in the life of every one of His beloved people. To add this intention
to our Mitzvos and good deeds, and to keep this intention in mind as much as possible, is one
of the highest degrees.
Thus instead of eating and sleeping by mere force of habit, or instead of being polite to our
fellowmen because of custom alone, and instead of Tefillin and Mezuzos and Shabbos
observance and Kashrus without any additional thought, if we had the intention of causing
pleasure to Hashem Who wishes that we choose Life, then we are attaining a very high degree.
But this is a Mitzvah ("Choose Life") and is not an optional piety, for Hashem demands of us
that we choose Life. We are hereby sternly admonished to have compassion upon ourselves, so
#586
Parshas Nitzavim 5781
y y p p ,
that we gain the supreme gift called life.
What is this gift of life? (1) It is the priceless opportunity to live longer, in order to achieve
more and more Perfection and merit. (2) And it includes the infinite happiness of the endless
Afterlife. Thus Hashem in this verse commands "You shall choose life" for your own benefit;
and to neglect or waste this opportunity to gain Life is one of the greatest catastrophes that
could ever happen. To lack compassion on one's self by failing to seek Life, is the crime of
crimes. Hashem pleads with us to have pity on ourselves: "Choose Life!" By doing that which is
our duty, we are thereby gaining Life in this world, as well as eternal Life in the Afterworld; for
we have (1) fulfilled the specific Mitzvah, (2) in addition to fulfilling the general Mitzvah of
"Choosing Life".


Posted 9/17/2021 9:18 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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How to help a young fighting couple - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #583
How can you help a new couple in your family that are fighting, and are thinking of separating?

If you can get them to visit some competent talmid chochom (now don't send them to me) to discuss things… I'll explain something to you. If the talmid chochom can reduce the level of fighting by five percent, he's a big success. Any doctor that can cure you by five percent is a success. Fighting goes on in very many homes, and therefore although it's better not to fight, but fighting is not a tragedy. It's a pity but not a tragedy. But the fighting should be reduced a little bit with eitzos and tachbulos.

I once had a pair come to me and I told him, he should just keep quiet, not answer. Now, she wouldn't listen to me, so she kept on fighting all the time. But you can't fight if you only have one side, you have to have two to make a fight, and therefore to a big extent their marriage was saved. Therefore you can always help out if you'll steer them to somebody who's capable of talking to them.

A big mitzvah by the way, to bring shalom bein ish l'ishto – a very big mitzvah.

Rabbi Miller on the Parsha:

לא־תחוס עינך עליו ובערת דם־הנקי מישראל וטוב לך
And you shall clear out the innocent blood from Israel; and it shall be good for you. (Devorim 19:13)

Two intentions are included here.

(1) "The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the earth" (Breshis 4:10). Unlike the atheists of today that say that the dead man is no more, and therefore there is no purpose in killing the slayer; the Torah teaches the truth that the dead man continues to exist, and his soul cries out for revenge. Unlike the brutish judge that declared "the courtroom is no place for revenge", we must judge and punish even for mere revenge to console the murdered man. "The innocent blood" that cries out must be answered; thereby the claim of the innocent blood is removed from Israel.

(2) Another intention: to clear out and to discourage bloodshed, it is imperative to kill the slayer. The public execution of the murderer is most effective (unlike the wicked falsehood of the posturing libertarians that claim that the execution of criminals does not inhibit bloodshed). Most instances of murder would never have happened if the death penalty was the certain outcome.


Posted 8/13/2021 1:43 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Understanding the concept of a sheitel - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #582
What is the concept of a sheitel? Now, a sheitel is even more beautiful than a woman's own hair!
Now some actually you know disapprove of a sheitel. However I am not going to preach the virtues of a sheitel. But if you're asking me what is halachically the justification, it's as follows. When we know that this is only imitation hair, it's a dampener on enthusiasm. When a person appears with a head of hair that came out of a sheitel box, immediately it's an entirely different personality. Suppose you saw a person with a beautiful face, a beautiful appealing face, but you know that the face is only a mask put on, so it doesn't have any appeal to you. Who will fall in love with a piece of paper?

Therefore once you know that it's a sheitel, that's important. In frum communities you see a woman pushing a baby carriage with two babies in the carriage, and four more holding on to the sides, and she has a beautiful sheitel; it's not her hair you know for sure.

And that's why you can make a brocho in the presence of a sheitel, where you cannot make a brocho in the presence of uncovered hair, because the yetzer doesn't have such shlita when you know it's all artificial.

Rav Miller on the Parsha:
לא תאכלנו למען ייטב לך ולבניך אחריך (דברים י״ב:כה)
You shall not eat it, in order that it be good for you and for your sons after you. (Devorim 12:25)

Even though there might be some temptation to eat blood in imitation of the idolaters and sorcerers, yet it is indeed not difficult to refrain from eating blood, which is disgusting even to see. Thus, when we refrain from eating blood, it would seem that we deserve no reward; because even without Hashem's prohibition, we would be nauseated even to consider such an act. Yet we learn here that even that which we would do for our own reasons (such as avoiding blood because of disgust), but if we add the additional reason that Hashem has so commanded, we gain reward for ourselves and for our progeny.

Thus when we eat Matzah to fulfill Hashem's command, even though we are hungry and the Matzah would be delicious, the reward for adding Hashem's command as an additional motivation would be fully forthcoming. Thus the happiness of marriage and of having children, and the joys of Shabbos and Yom Tov, despite the natural urge for pleasurable experiences, yet when we exert our minds (as much as we can) to add the motivation of serving Hashem, we earn reward.

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 8/6/2021 1:10 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Dvar Torah # 774 - Pirkei Avos 3, 10 - Parshas Pinchus
Pirkei Avos 3, 10 - Parshas Pinchus

רבי דוסתאי בר ינאי משום רבי מאיר אומר כל השוכח דבר אחד ממשנתו מעלה עליו הכתוב כאלו מתחיב בנפשו שנאמר רק השמר לך ושמור נפשך מאד פן תשכח את הדברים אשר ראו עיניך (אבות ג:י)

Rebbi Dostai bar Yannai says in the name of Rebbi Meir, "One who forgets something from his Torah learning, the pasuk considers it as if he bears guilt for his soul, as it says, 'Beware and guard your soul exceedingly lest you forget the things your eyes have seen.'"

Rabbeinu Yonah explains that our Mishna is discussing someone who forgets his learning due to a lack of reviewing the material that he learned. Since it is human nature to forget, he should have reviewed the Torah again and again to the point that he would never forget it.

Rav Wolbe writes (Alei Shur vol. II p. 163) that people understand that one must review the Gemara that they learned. Being that there are so many details and nuances that make up a sugya, it is imperative that one review the material to enable him to remember everything that he studied. Yet, when it comes to learning mussar people have difficulty understanding the need for review. Isn't the standard mussar idea straightforward and succinct? How many times does a person have to review, for example, "Jealousy, lust and honor remove a man from the world" (Avos 3:28) before he is able to remember it?

The need to review a mussar idea is not for the goal of remembering the words. Rather, the review is necessary to ingrain - an already known idea - into one's heart and mind. Just knowing that "jealousy, lust and honor remove a man from the world" won’t do very much for a person who needs to uproot these negative traits from his character.

Rav Yeruchom Levovitz zt"l writes that contemplating an idea can be compared to taking a quill and running it over a paper. The first time this is done it will create an ever so slight indentation. With each successive time, the indentation will get deeper and more discernable. In a similar vein, with each reflection upon the idea that one previously contemplated, the impression upon the person's mind and soul becomes deeper and more recognizable.

Indeed, it was this type of learning and reviewing mussar that Rebbi Yisrael Salanter had in mind when he promulgated mussar b'hispa'alus. This exercise is not a means of brainwashing. It is a means of taking something which he already knows to be true and making it part and parcel of the very fiber of his being in a way that will positively affect his behavior.

Accordingly, we can explain that our mishna is referring to one who fails to implement mussar ideals. In effect he "forgot" what he learned because he didn't review it again and again. He should have realized that human nature is to forget and overlook even important concepts - if they aren't hammered into their mind and heart time and time again.


When Rav Yaakov Galinsky arrived in the Novardak Yeshiva, he was sent by the Rosh Yeshiva to learn mussar in the local shul. He arrived at the dark beis medrash and heard a man reciting again and again the Gemara (Eiruvin 54a), "Grab and eat, grab and drink, since the world we live in is like a fleeting wedding" (i.e. grab as many mitzvos as possible before it's too late). He later found out that the man was Rav Yisrael Yaakov Kanievsky (the Steipler). This tzaddik certainly knew that man has limited time in this world; he was merely trying to inculcate this reality into his heart.

A practical suggestion to help implement this idea: Take a mussar idea and repeat it ten times a day. It could even be something in English like "A person never loses out from giving in." You will be surprised to see how much of a positive effect this exercise has upon you even after merely a few days.


Posted 7/2/2021 3:00 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Moshe Rabeinu marrying out? -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #572
Here is a good question. Why aren't Moshe Rabeinu's children spoken about in the Torah? Did they go in his footsteps?
Now they certainly walked in his footsteps; not only his children, everybody else's children walked in the footsteps of Moshe Rabeinu. Zichru toras Moshe avdi asher tzivisi oso b'Chorev al kol Yisroel chukim umishpatim, the Jewish nation all walked in Moshe Rabeinu's footsteps, don't make any mistake about that.

We see here a very queer phenomenon. Moshe Rabeinu, the greatest man that ever lived, married outside of his people. Isn't that a queer phenomenon? Of course in those days before matan Torah, there was no such thing as intermarriage, everybody was bnei Noach, and at Har Sinai everyone became geirim, so it was really no problem. But still, Aaron married from the zera Avrohom, and so did others. How is it that Hakadosh Baruch Hu caused this to happen? Now this doesn't happen by accident, it was part of Hashem's plan, that the greatest man and the leader of our people, the one from whose hand we received the Torah – Toras Moshe – should marry outside of the family. It's a big problem!

It was Hashem's plan. Hashem did not want Moshe Rabeinu's children to take over any office. There shouldn't be the slightest form of nepotism, of patronage, of selfishness. Moshe Rabeinu was the perfect man, but a perfect man is also a man, and had he had sons of the stock of the original family of Avrohom, who knows what would've happened? He would have a negia, a personal interest. So Hakadosh Baruch Hu purified him, and Moshe Rabeinu knew that his children could not be leaders in the Am Hashem. They were all frum Jews, no question about that "... bnei Moshe rabu l'maleh rosh" it says in Divrei Hayomim. A very big family, but no conspicuous mention of them in the Torah; he named them and that's all.

Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted Moshe to be the model of a purely devoted, unselfish leader, and therefore Moshe Rabeinu's children took no office, and they even gained no mention subsequently in the Torah. Moshe is pure; he did everything only for others and nothing for himself at all.

And that was the Yad Hashem that caused him to marry a Midyanis, just for the purpose that the greatness of this personality should not be tinged by the smallest amount of personal interest.

By the mouth of Hashem they encamped, and by the mouth of Hashem they journeyed. (Bamidbar 9:20)
This is a model for the largest part of Israel's history. Our nation in its journeys has had no permanent location, and "Hashem, You have been our dwelling" (Tehillim 90:1). Wherever Israel goes, they are housed in Hashem's protective embrace as long as they are mindful of Him. Whenever they dismantled the Mishkan in preparation for their journey, it was considered as "Dismantling for the purposes of rebuilding in the same place" (Shabbos 31B), because wherever they would be when they rebuilt the Mishkan they were in the same location as they had been when they dismantled it; namely, in the midst of Hashem's loving embrace.

From this statement that all locations of Israel are considered as the same place, we understand that Hashem's Presence dwelt in Jerusalem, Bavel, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Russia and then in the Western Hemisphere, wherever His people encamped. To those that seek Hashem in this world, the place to find Him is among the habitations of loyal Jewry.

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 5/27/2021 10:16 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Women covering hair at home - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #571
Should a married woman cover her hair when she's alone at home?

Now this is already a question in Halacha, and we have a principle not to answer, however I will go out of my geder today and say something about it. The gemara talks about a certain woman, who had five sons kohanim gedolim. So they asked her, what did she do that she was worthy of such a great honor? Five sons were kohanim gedolim!

And she said, the ceiling of my home never saw my hair, which means her hair was always covered in the house. Which means, if nobody is around she could uncover her hair, but she didn't, because Somebody was around. She was always aware of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and this awareness made her bashful to uncover her hair.

That's why the Jewish nation has a practice when you have to dress and undress even though it's in a dark room, and you're all alone, you try to cover up as much as possible. Because, like it says in the Shulchan Aruch, nobody should say it's dark and I'm b'chadrei chadorim, and mi roini, who sees me in this inside chamber? Halo Hashem melo kol ha'aretz k'vodo, He's everywhere, and the more you train yourself to realize that, the more you are deemed worthy by Hakadosh Baruch Hu for great honor.

And although it's not a duty, but if a person has that feeling at all times, to be aware of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, then you're doing something that's very worthwhile

This word combines two meanings, Nezer means a "crown", and thus we see that "the crown of his God is upon his head" (6:7), similar to the word Zer which denotes an elevated border around some object, as the "golden border" (Shmos 25:11) of the Holy Ark of Testimony. But Nazir means also "one that is separated", such as in the verse Nazoru ("they withdrew backward") (Yeshaiah 1:4), similar to the word Zar ("a stranger"). These two meanings of the word Nazir thus demonstrate the virtue of the man that withdraws from the pleasure of wine and separates himself in spirit from all others that indulge in the pleasure of drinking; and therefore Hashem rewards this man with the crown of Hashem's favor.

But it could mean also that because a man assumed the "crown of his G-d" upon his head by devoting part of his life to thinking about Hashem, therefore he must abstain from wine because inebriation or even indulging in unnecessary pleasures diverts the mind from thinking about Hashem.

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 5/20/2021 9:55 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Music - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #568
Doesn't music have an important place in avodas Hashem?

When we say music has no place, it means music in itself is nothing. Music in itself is just a nervousness; a tickling of the eardrum. It's just a nervous reaction of the emotions; it's unreasonable, it's irrational.

But, when people utilize anything, even in gashmius, for a noble purpose, then that thing becomes in itself ennobled. So certainly, if I would be able to hear how a great tzadik would sing... I was once in a shtible, I heard a chasidisha rov, not a famous one, and he was singing ana avda d'kudsho brichu, singing a number of times, and I must say that I left that place better than I was when I came. No question.

Certainly if you utilize music with noble words and in the right atmosphere… We were talking about music per se; music by itself, there is no virtue. And if people say on a man who doesn't appreciate music that he's a man of low character, he's lacking something, these people are silly people. Music has no place in a rational mind unless it's used as an implement to emphasize some great ideal.

So when Dovid Hamelech played on his harp, he wasn't playing music for music's sake chas v'shalom! He was playing the music in order to convey some lofty message. Certainly, Reb Yisroel Salanter said, when you learn mussar in the Yeshivos, that's how they learned mussar, they learn with a nigun, they took a mamar chazal and they repeated it out loud again and again with a certain sad and pensive nigun... and certainly it was used to penetrate a man's consciousness and make him greater. But music for itself is nothing.

The seven- weeks counting is not made by counting the days ahead ("Today is 49 days before Shavuos" or "before the giving of the Torah"), but by counting the days that a lapse after the offering of "the Omer, the first of your reaping" (23:9). If the counting was merely in the eagerness for the great event of the Giving of the Torah when Hashem's voice would be heard, then we should count the days that remain ahead. But the procedure of counting the days that passed since the Omer demonstrates the very important principle gratitude for the produce of the land. Every additional day that we continue to eat the fruit of the land, since the Omer was offered and thereby made the new produce permissible, brings added happiness and thereby requires additional gratitude.

By looking back at all the days when we enjoyed the new crop, we thereby become more and more full of gratitude and love of Hashem that gives us the land and the produce; and we thereby become even more eager to serve Him by accepting His Torah. "If there is no flour, there is no Torah" (Avos 3:17) and therefore "If there is no Torah, there is no flour" (ibid) because the Torah study is the expression of gratitude for the flour which enables men to fulfill their purpose in life which is Hashem's Torah. Thus the giving of the Torah which is memorialized 50 days after the Omer actually emphasizes and augments the gratitude for the produce of the land which not merely provides sustenance and happiness, but which enables men to achieve the highest form of happiness and the truest prosperity, which is the Torah study and the achievement of True Knowledge of Hashem.

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 4/29/2021 11:16 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Speaking the truth to congregants -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #567
Should a Rabbi run the risk of being expelled, by talking about matters that the congregation doesn't want to hear?

It's the job of a Rabbi to win his people over gradually. So it's not good sense that the first Shabbos that he speaks he should immediately talk about things that anger the people, because what will he accomplish when he's outside, when he's on the other side of the door? So therefore, let him first bring the people in and celebrate with them Shabbos, Shalosh Seudas, Melava Malkas, simchas Yom Tov, let him show the happiness, the good times. Little by little let them get pride in being Jews, let him explain the hashkofo of Torah. After a while these people themselves will be more
amenable.

Now it might take years. I know a Rabbi who had a congregation, a
choshuva congregation, and after three years he became so disgusted that he
left and went to Eretz Yisroel. I told him he made an error; he should have
remained. It's a question of time, and you will win out.

First of all the malach hamoves is a tanya d'mesaya lei, the old ones in the
course of time will stop being members. Secondly some of the people are
going to leave, the undesirable ones will leave anyhow, they won't like your
tone; better ones will be attracted eventually. In the course of time you're
going to see what happens. I remember years ago, I was urging a young man
to go into the rabbinate, he said to me if I had a congregation like yours I'd
go in.

I told him what the Chasam Sofer said. The Chasam Sofer once urged a Jew
to go into the Rabonus, so he said if I had a kehilla like Pressburg then I
would go into it. The Chasam Sofer said, I also didn't have a kehilla like
Pressburg when I became a Rov, it became subsequently. It took a lot of
work, there were a lot of rich Jews in Pressburg, they were all leaning to the
Reform in those days; all they were interested in was Reform. The Chasam
Sofer little by little got them in the right mood and it became a Yeshiva
town. Now when you say Pressburg, you think about the Pressburger
Yeshiva.

So every Rabbi has to make it his business – of course if he could get a very
good kehilla at the beginning he should, but if he gets any kind of kehilla –
he should dedicate himself to win them over.

Of course if he has to break laws of the Torah in the beginning, there should
be no concessions, no yielding. If it's possible to come in without any open
breach of the Torah, only he has to guard his tongue for the first few years
and be diplomatic, that's his job; that's ratzon Hashem to do that.

Fundamentally, this means: think as I think. The most important part of
the personality is the mind; therefore we can most effectively emulate the
holiness of Hashem by means of emulating His thoughts. Everything in the
Torah is an example of Hashem's thoughts (as He wishes us to think) and
therefore we study His words in order to acquire (what He shows us to be)
his attitudes. He regards Man as "the image of G-d" (Breshis 1:27), and we
should train our minds to think likewise. He considers the people of Israel as
his sons (Devarim 14:1), and we must gain that same attitude. He desires
kindliness (Shmos 34:6; Micha 7:18), and so should we. He hates
immorality (Sanhedrin 93A) and so should we. He considers His world as
"very good" (Breshis 1:31) and so should we.


Posted 4/22/2021 10:35 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Why should we oppose abortion by non-Jews - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #566
Why should we oppose abortion, if it will decrease the population of those who might be our enemies?

You must know, that even for a Ben Noach it's a big sin to commit abortion. A Ben Noach who commits abortion is chayev misah; that's a halacha in the gemara.

However there is a more important consideration. It does not pay even if we could destroy enemies – I'm not saying that that's any consideration at all – but even if somebody would say let the enemies be destroyed, you must know that Jews are being destroyed also because of abortion. Up to recently there were a lot of children in non-religious families, and they came into Yeshivas, and they became frum Jews, and b'nei Torah, and even big talmidei chachomim. If their parents had committed abortion, they would never have had these results.

If we even could let's say kill 10 Hitlers for one Jewish child, it wouldn't pay.
Therefore we have to oppose abortion, because Jews are practicing abortion. We oppose gay rights, because Jews become gays; that's the main problem we are worried about.

In Eretz Yisroel in the past year, there were twenty thousand legal abortions! Among Jews, Arabs don't abort. The Arabs are increasing like nobody's business. There were twenty thousand legal abortions, and most of them are in the army, the girls in the army get abortions from the government. You know what a ruination that is? From 1948 until about five years ago, 1 million abortions took place in Eretz Yisroel. You know what that means? A million Jewish babies were murdered! That's why we are against abortion. It's a terrible crime, and there is no kappara for that crime.

An innocent unborn child wanted to breathe the air and enjoy this world, to have a chance to do mitzvos, and these selfish people considered relations between men and women just for recreation and fun, and then when they have to have the responsibility to bear a child, they dodge it by murdering their baby. Oh you have to know, Hakadsoh Baruch Hu will not keep quiet, we're afraid of what's going to happen in Eretz Yisroel, their blood cries out from the earth.

And that's why even if it were true – I don't believe it's even right to favor abortion for goyim, because a ben Noach is also mechuyov to keep his mitzvos, he's chayev misah. But certainly the Jewish people are suffering as a result of this. Today there are no families anymore from which you can recruit children, who eventually will become baalei teshuvos.

For the sake of brevity the verse could have stated "He should be brought to one of Aharon's sons the Cohanim". But we see that it is preferable that Aharon himself should be consulted if possible. We are hereby taught that we should always seek the most authoritative Torah opinion if it is available. In accordance with the foregoing notes, the benefit which Hashem intended was to bring us in contact with the Torah teacher; and the most beneficial contact is with the greatest Torash teacher. Thus, when a question of Kashrus arises, we should perceive that Hashem caused this question to arise in order that we meet the Torah sage, who may have for us instruction and counsel even more important for us than the Kashrus question.

And when the sage is greater, then the encounter with him is so much more valuable. "Righteousness, righteousness you should pursue" (Dvarim 16:20); "Go after the best Bais Din...after the sages in the Marble Chamber" (Sanhedrin 32B). Not only will the greatest Sages give you the truest opinion, but their influence upon you will also be the most effective: "to Aharon the Cohen".

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 4/15/2021 9:41 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Jewish state, proper or not? A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #565
Mem'sheles shel Yisroel lifnei bi'as Hamoshiach, a Jewish government in Eretz Yisroel, is that against the Torah?

My friend, I am not somebody to pasken such sheilos. Some gedolim hold that even though
there is no such thing as a Jewish government, a commonwealth, before Moshiach comes,
nevertheless once there is a kehila, even a kehila of reshoim, we have to try to get along with them and try to utilize them, we should build up Torah. That's what some gedolim say.
So you can't just say that it's nothing, and we ignore them, and we'll kiss Arafat and be his good friend, no! We want to build up Torah in Eretz Yisroel as much as we can. There are a lot of tzadikim in Eretz Yisroel, beautiful kehilos, so do the best you can to get along with these reshoim, that's what some say.

Now I am not saying that you have to love them, or give them too much respect, and when it
comes to voting, some say you should vote in order to get the best benefit. Others say, don't vote to show that you do not support the government. I am not mixing into such a question; I'll leave it to the manhigei Yisroel.

It's not a simple question; it's a complicated question and I'm not trying to persuade anybody to do anything.

The love of kin was a powerful emotion in the holy nation. They always kiss when meeting and on departing (Shmos 4:27, 18:7) and embraced (Breshis 33:4, 48:10), and in no nation was the love of fellowmen (19:18) ever cultivated as in Israel, and especially so for kin. But Aharon here demonstrated that the love of Hashem was the paramount emotion of the Cohen Gadol. Just as Abraham was tested on Mount Moriah (Breshis 22) to demonstrate that his love of Hashem surpassed his love for Yitzchok, so also did Aharon now succeed in this most difficult test.

The old sage of Slabodka, Rabbi Noson Zvi Finkel, when his great son Rabbi Moshe passed away during Yom- Tov, continued calm and cheerful in order to maintain the honor of the holy day; only at nightfall afterward did he break down in his grief. Even when the Romans were combing the flesh off Rabbi Akiva's body, he continued to recite the Shma. And thus the righteous nation, even in moments of the greatest disasters, clung firmly to their trust in Hashem's kindliness and his ultimate reward for their unswerving loyalty.

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 4/8/2021 9:49 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Chickens and cows going extinct - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #563
The gentleman asks: if we slaughter chickens and cows, don't we have to worry about them becoming extinct?

The more you slaughter them, the more they're going to increase and multiply, and I'll
explain that briefly.
Because if people wouldn't slaughter them, nobody would raise them, and they surely
would become extinct. The mammoth became extinct because nobody made any use of
him.

Chickens are increasing and multiplying today like never before; there are more
chickens in the world than ever before. And so the more you are able to use them, the
more the species is going to be kept alive.Adam denotes "one made of the soil." Not only the first man, but also every Adam comes from the soil which produced the food of which the body is composed. The first duty of an Adam is gratitude to his Creator, and this gratitude he must express most heartily for the food of which he is composed and which maintains his existence. The Korban that he offers to his Creator, whether of meat and blood or of flour or of wine, is fundamentally a demonstration of thanksgiving to Hashem that created the miracle of food, and Who performed the miracle of creating the body from food, and the miracle of maintaining the body by means of food.

But there are indeed more intentions, which can be discerned, some of which we shall
study. Whatever intentions we may discover, yet the basic attitude was not "a man
offers to Hashem" but a man that declares that the offering belongs to Hashem the
Creator. The bringing of the offering is a declaration that He is the Giver. This
intention is the principle that underlies not only Karbanos and tithes, but also all the
Mitzvos of the Torah: to declare gratitude to the Giver.


Posted 3/18/2021 9:25 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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How to bring an gift to Hashem - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #559
How can a man bring a gift to Hashem, if everything belongs to Hashem?
He brings his heart as a gift to Hashem, that's what you're bringing. When you bring bikurim, you're bringing your heart to Hashem, when you're bringing a korban, you're bringing yourself to Hashem. It's like saying, Ribono shel olam I'd like to offer myself as a korbon to the miazbeiach, but You won't take it. You told Avrohom, al tishlach yodcho el ha'naar, v'aal ta'as lo m'umo, don't do anything to Yitzchok, so you don't want any offerings. So ma ashiv Lashem, how can I pay back Hashem? Ha'eten bechori pishi (Micha 6:7) can I give my firstborn as an atonement for my sins? No, I can't do that, so I'll give a bechor of my korbonos.

So we see that a korbon is giving yourself to Hashem. So if you give maaser, it's really giving yourself to Hashem. It's the heart that Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants of you, and your heart you can give.

Heart means your emotions, your love, your devotion to Hashem. That's what you give when you give anything to Hashem.

This astonishing statement defies all logic. Hashem is infinite and not physical, and His Reality transcends any space-measurement. This therefore actually means that Israel is the purpose of the Universe, and Hashem here declares that this group of men is the center of His thoughts. This holds true for all future generations of Israel: "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed, says Hashem that loves you" (Isaiah 54:10). But in the intensity of Hashem's Presence, no generation ever gained a similar recognition by Hashem.

The statement "And I shall reside in their midst" in the sense that it was made here, was never approximated afterwards. This was the generation of generations. It must be emphasized that never again subsequently was Hashem's presence as openly evident as it was at this time.

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 2/18/2021 7:27 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Reward for working - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #558
Does one get sachar – reward – for working?

I'll explain that on two levels. Hakadosh Baruch Hu rewards those who do what is the proper way (thing) to do, even though they don't do it l'shem shomayim. If you work, that's what you should do. It's like eating; Hashem rewards those who eat, if you won't eat then you won't be able to live. If you eat you are rewarded that you live, even though you didn't eat l'shem shomayim. If you eat l'shem shomayim, you get more reward. You sit down at breakfast and say, I am now going to eat in order to have strength to serve my Creator. Is that hard to do? Try it tomorrow morning. It's a whole siman in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim. I am now going to eat in order to have strength to serve my Creator. That is even greater.

Therefore you get reward for working. If you go to work like a decent person – you don't say I'm sick, I'm too nervous to work, let my wife support me… That kind of fellow, Hashem doesn't like him at all. Hakadosh Baruch Hu doesn't like people that don't work. You have to work; let your wife stay home, there's plenty to do at home. She has to bake bread, she has to take care of the children; you go to work!
A man who doesn't work becomes sick – he becomes a nervous wreck, he becomes mentally disturbed.

Gedola melacha, how great is work! Work keeps you alive – it makes you healthy, it makes you mentally well! It's a big tragedy that people don't work as much as they once used to do. Once upon a time they worked all the time, except Shabbos. When Shabbos came they were weary, and they appreciated the rest. All week long they had no time for mischief! They worked from early morning till late at night. It's a blessing! Work is a blessing!

Gedola melacha, how great is work, in many ways it's great. Sh'mechabedes es baleha, it makes you respectable. You don't have to go beg, you have your own income. Gedola melacha sh'mechamemes es baleha, another ma'mar, it warms you up, you get exercise when you work, it keeps you healthy when you are working. There are other benefits of work. Certainly you must work. Even though you don't work l'shem shomayim you'll get reward, no question about it.

But when a person works l'shem shomayim, and he has in mind, after all he was mekabel kinyan on the kesubah when he married his wife, and he obligated himself to support her, and he has children to support, he's raising up ovdei Hashem, frum boys and girls, he has to pay schar limud. He has to feed them, he has to emulate Hashem, nosein lechem lkol bosor, Hashem feeds all the living. He also wants to feed his children like a messenger of Hashem, and he does it l'shem shomayim – no question this man who is working gets even more reward.

Therefore in two senses, does he earn reward for work? Absolutely. But of course if you work l'shem shomayim, you get a much greater reward.

But in all cases work anyhow. Work anyhow.


Posted 2/11/2021 11:35 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Sharing your Torah knowledge with your wife.. A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #557
How can we make our wives be satisfied with our efforts to achieve, and make progress in ruchnius?

If you utilize the opportunities when you're home to inspire your family with these ideals. If a man comes home from the kollel,cor the yeshiva, and he's sad, he's depressed – because in the kollel somebody was a making a lot of noise saying a piece of Torah, and he is envious, he couldn't do that – so he comes back from the yeshiva downcast and discouraged, and he's curt at home, so his wife doesn't see any happiness of achievement. She is certainly not going to encourage him to continue being unhappy.

But if whenever he comes home he speaks with idealism, constantly, and especially by the Shabbos table. And he talks in terms of the kindness of Hashem, he talks in terms of the glory of the Jewish people, he talks in terms of the greatness of Torah, and he inspires his wife – that's his job to inspire her! What is she supposed to do, just to stay home and cook for him, while he's making progress in the Yeshiva? He has to reflect some of his perfection, some of his achievements in the home. If he does, then his wife will go along with him. If the children see that the father is interested in making the home a happy place – he comes back from the synagogue, even if he's not a Yeshiva man, a working man, when he comes back from the synagogue he's glowing with happiness, he tells them how great davening is, he speaks of the importance of going to the synagogue and what a kedusha it is, and he makes the home feel that this is a continuation...

Like it says, im ata tovo el beisi ani ovo el beishecha, Hashem says, if you come to My house I will come to your house, so he brings the Shechinah back with him. If a man comes from shul Friday night and he's happy, he's glowing, and he says Shalom Aleichem at home and the house is full of joy, then he's transferring all the idealism that he might've gleaned in the synagogue, and he's bringing it home, but if he doesn't, it's his own fault.

Therefore that's his purpose in life, he should continue to forge ahead, and at the same time his family must forge ahead with him. His wife has to make progress with him; he shouldn't neglect his wife's spiritual achievements, too.

The following Dvar Torah is taken from "A Nation is Born"
וישלח משה את חתנו וילך לו אל ארצו
And Moshe accompanied his father-in-law. (18:27)
Moshe was the Man of G-d, the greatest of all Prophets, and the ruler over a nation of millions; and by his hand Hashem had performed wonders that had never before or after been seen. Yet he did not merely bid farewell politely to Yithro, who was not an Israelite, but he accompanied him as he started out to return to Midian. Vay'shalach does not mean "He sent away" but "He accompanied him" as he departed.

The Torah here teaches the humility of Moshe (as in Bamidbar 12:3), and it teaches the necessity of Derech Eretz which requires respect for a father-in-law although he may be very far beneath the importance of the son-in-law

Good Shabbos to all!



Posted 2/5/2021 1:54 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Two loaves at every Shabbos meal, Why? - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #556
At every meal on Shabbos, you have to have two loaves, not one loaf, two loaves of bread. On Pesach you need two matzos. Why two?

Because it's a remez to remind us what happened in the days of old. When our forefathers did not have any kind of sustenance from nature; b'eretz lo zarua, where nothing grew. And Hakadosh Baruch Hu fed them by the miracle of the Mann, which is something that was never equaled, not only in the world's history, but it was never equaled in the history of the Jewish people. A nes that took place every day for forty years. And it took place not only to individuals, but to an entire nation. It's such a stunning story, such a staggering miracle, that it leaves no place to be astonished at anything else that could happen. That's the miracle of miracles - the Mann. A nation of millions was fed from nothing! Yesh m'ayin.

And now when Shabbos came, they were admonished not to pick the Mann on the Shabbos day. They could not go out on the Shabbos day to find their sustenance, but on Erev Shabbos they found two portions. This remarkable thing wasn't done just for that time – it was a mishmeres for all the doros. It was a tremendous object lesson.

And we're expected every Shabbos to think about that. When you sit down at your table and you see the two challos covered by the cloth, a white cloth on top and a white tablecloth underneath, is like the hoarfrost that lay on the ground. The Mann was on the hoarfrost and on top of the Mann fell another layer of frost. It was kept preserved better than the bakers who bake bread and wrap it in waxed waterproof wrappers. This was a beautiful wrapper. That's what we look at on the Shabbos table and we see two loaves – to remind us that Hakadoash Baruch Hu is the One Who provides sustenance.

For those who keep the Shabbos, it will be al yechsar laanu, you won't be lacking anything. You can keep Shabbos all your life and you will not have less than anybody else! On the contrary – you'll find that Shabbos is a brocha. You'll be able to rest on Shabbos; you'll always have enough to eat.

Shabbos is the day when bitachon is most greatly exercised.
As a preface to this great subject, we must declare that all the phenomena of the Mann were lessons that parallel the phenomena of our seemingly natural food.

"They did not know what it was" is exactly what we say of our food. The carbon dioxide in the air, when it combines with water, and when it miraculously joins the chlorophyll that undergoes that stupendous wonder of absorbing light from the sun in the process of photosynthesis, finally results in a product so wondrous that we to "do not know what it is." The sole difference is that the Mann was a miracle, whereas men are blinded by habit and therefore fail to be astonished at the miracle of their daily food.

"A man's food is as difficult (i.e. is as great a miracle) as the Rending of the Sea of Suf" (Pesachim 118A), because after reading all the great miracles (including the Rending of the Sea) the crowning and final wonder is declared: "He gives food to all flesh" (Tehillim 136:25).
נתן לחם לכל בשר, כי לעולם חסדו

Good Shabbos to all!


Posted 1/28/2021 9:36 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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How can we expect women to be the breadwinner - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #555
How can we expect a woman to support the family, when her main function is to take care of the home and the children?

Now, nobody is expecting a woman to do that. It's a woman who volunteers. Can you expect a woman who gets married, to be without her husband for 24 years? What kind of marriage is that? A marriage on condition to be separated from the husband? But great neshomos did that. Rochel the wife of Rabbi Akiva, she married him on the condition he should go away and study Torah, and she said 12 years! And later she said twelve more years, and he didn't see her in between; 24 years he was away at her wish.

Certainly you can't expect anything of people beyond their normal function, but when people rise above normalcy and they are greater than people usually are, so now – do you know who the teacher of the Jewish people is? Rochel the wife of Rabbi Akiva, she is the one who transmitted the Torah to the Jewish nation, Rabbi Akiva said that. When he came back with his 24,000 disciples following him, so he said to them, sheli v'shelcho shela he, all the Torah that I have and all the Torah you have is hers. Which means, Rochel was the teacher of the Jewish nation. If not for her who knows what would've happened to the Torah.

Of course we can't demand anything of a kollel wife; if she doesn't want, we can't demand it of her. But if she can rise, and become greater than her usual function, so that's everybody's situation in life. Everybody can make for himself a situation of greatness, if he goes beyond what's required of him.

Among the lessons, we learn that we must understand that whether it is the command of the king for the bark of a dog, everything is under Hashem's direction. When a person is subjected to the experience of an insult by men or by the bark of a dog, he must understand that it was planned by Hashem. Whatever Hashem's purpose was, but if the recipient of the insult or the bark succeeds in understanding that it came from Hashem, he has already fulfilled the intention of Hashem.

Both the king and the dog participated in the plan of Hashem to demonstrate "the difference between the Egyptians and Israel." Because Israel had passed the long and difficult test of keeping aloof from the people of the land and had not changed their names and language and their national ways, Hashem therefore caused all the Plagues to keep Israel apart and unharmed.

Good Shabbos to all!

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.


Posted 1/21/2021 11:37 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)

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