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Devrei Torah relating to the weekly Parsha.

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A mothers commiseration for a child, proper or not - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #530
Parshas Devarim 5780
QUESTION: When a mother suffers pain because of her child suffering, is it a positive or negative reaction?

ANSWER:

Any kind of commiseration, any kind of compassion, is a mitzvah, because we are walking in the ways of Hashem. והלכת בדרכיו, you should walk in His ways. מה הוא רחום אף אתה רחום.

So therefore if a mother has compassion on her child, or anybody has compassion on anybody else, it's a good middah. Of course you have to be careful, כל המרחם על האכזרים, if you have pity on cruel people, like those liberals who have compassion on murderers, סוף נעשה אכזרי על רחמנים, you are cruel to the kind people. True compassion is always a mitzvah, and therefore you shouldn't be ashamed, and you don't need any justification.

However if you'll add the ideal that you are emulating Hakadosh Baruch Hu, then you have a mitzvas asei: v'holacto b'drochov is a mitzvas asei, one of the taryag mitzvos. So if you'll think that I'm doing it because Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted me to emulate His ways, even better. But whatever you do, you have to know that compassion is a good middah, it's a Jewish middah, because it's Hakadosh Baruch Hu's middah. Whether it's compassion of a mother, or compassion on other people, not your own child, never be ashamed of compassion.

Of course you should always do it in the gidrei Hatorah, never because of compassion allow your child to wheedle you into getting something that's wrong for the child. A child begs his mother, "Ma, let me out on the street. Everybody's on the street in the nighttime. I have to stay in the house!" No compassion, stay inside the house. No streets for our children! Nighttime is a sakono!

Boys and girls in the house, always! Up till the time that they're ready to go out and get married.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 7/24/2020 6:10 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Turning your kitchen into a Bais Hamikdash - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #529
Parshas Mattos - Masei 5780
QUESTION:

What thoughts should a woman have while working in the kitchen?

ANSWER:

Imagine a mother, she's in the kitchen, she doesn't go to shiurim. In her kitchen however, let's say she's making a meal to feed her husband and her children. She is doing what Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants her to do. פותח את ידך, Hashem feeds the whole world, ומשביע לכל חי רצון. And He said, והלכת בדרכיו, you should imitate Me, emulate Me. So when she puts the bread on the table, she is נותן לחם לכל בשר, she's feeding the world, like Hashem wants her to do. When she is doing that, and if she thinks these thoughts, she can make her kitchen a Bais Hamikdash. It's kodosh anyhow, but she can make it much more kodosh.

As she puts the food on the gas range to cook, she should think it's a korban, you're makriv a korban on the mizbeiach, you're burning on the mizbeiach a korban to Hashem. It's a reiach nechoach, a pleasant odor of the cooking food fills the whole kitchen, then it's a reiach nechoach L'Hashem, Hashem wants the Jewish people to eat kosher food, and enjoy it. And especially when you sit down at the table and you say Baruch Ata Hashem hamotze lechem min ha'aretz, you thank Hashem, so you are using the food for the purpose of life, which is to recognize the Borei more and more.

So all things in life are made for that purpose, and if we live for that purpose, then Hakadosh Baruch Hu loves us more, He sees we're fulfilling the tachlis for which He made the whole briah.

Therefore anything in this world, even if you're sitting at your office and you are earning a livelihood, you think "I'm doing it l'shem shomayim because Hakadosh Baruch Hu told me to keep that Bais Hamikdash of mine going. I have to pay for the food, I have to pay the rent or the mortgage, I have to pay tuition for the children, it's all a great institution of kedusha, and right now I'm preserving that kedusha by earning money to keep it going". So in his office it's kodesh kodoshim, if he thinks about it. He should think about that.

That's what the Rambam says, kvod Hashem is thinking about it, that's the most important element in all these subjects, it should become part of your mindset. And when you do that, then you know you are living for a purpose.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 7/17/2020 6:17 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Rise in anti-Semitism - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #528
Parshas Pinchos 5780

QUESTION:

Is the recent rise in anti-Semitism something to worry about?

ANSWER:

Absolutely, it's something to worry about. We have to know that there is a fundamental reason. It's because Hakadosh Baruch Hu is worrying about us. Vayeit Yisroel mei'uluv, Yisroel has to turn away from Eisav. We are too much involved in Gentile ideas, and it's necessary to erect a wall, and that wall is anti-Semitism. Always it happens again and again. When Jews start getting lost among gentiles, then it's time that the Gentiles have to get busy making a wall to prevent that.

And the first reaction to anti-Semitism has to be, not to contribute to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or other organizations that combat anti-Semitism – no, no. In most cases they cause anti-Semitism.

The way to combat anti-Semitism is to have more yeshivos, where children will be taken in for less tuition. Tuition should be able to be very low: yeshivos should be so prosperous that they can afford to take in children almost for nothing, that's the ideal.

And so the Jewish child in a yeshiva, would be the one that fights against anti-Semitism in the most efficient manner

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 7/10/2020 7:17 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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The passing of gedolim - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #527
Parshas Chukas - Balak 5780

QUESTION:

Are the loss of the two gedolim (meaning Reb Moshe Feinstein and Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky zichronom l'ivrocho) an omen?

ANSWER:

Everything is an omen, and nothing is an omen. I don't believe just in manufacturing omens, and being superstitious for nothing. When an old gadol dies, how long do you expect them to live, to a hundred and fifty years? They have to die someday. However, we utilize the opportunity, because to us even if the gadol would be a thousand years old, it would be a tragedy for us. When Reb Yochanon passed away at a very advanced old age, so when they made a funeral hesped for him they said, it's like the sun set in midday! It's too early for him to die, no matter how old he is, because we don't want him to die.

So it's not an omen, but we have to learn lessons from that. We have to learn the importance of great men, the importance of training young men to become great, somebody has to take their place. We have to learn the necessity of listening to our great men as long as we have them. We have to utilize our great men. Now when they were alive, many people ignored them. After they died the people said ooh he died… where were you when he was alive? Did you come to listen to him?

Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky was sitting every Friday night in Monsey teaching Chumash for many years, in a little place, a little shul in a basement. It should have been packed, but it wasn't packed. Monsey! Ir v'eim b'Yisroel! I'm not blaming them, they had plenty other things to do. But Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky is teaching Chumash, most likely it was something worth listening to. Then he passed away and tsk, tsk, tsk ... Where were you when he was alive?

And so there are a lot of lessons to be learned, there are a lot of omens that we make, there's not any special omen that we can say because it's part of nature that people get old and pass away.

However we should utilize the opportunity for teshuva and maasim tovim.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 7/7/2020 3:16 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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How to choose a friend - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #526
Parshas Shelach 5780

QUESTION:

What qualities should a person look for in a friend?

ANSWER:

When you are looking for a friend, the Mesilas Yesharim says, be more careful than when you choose the food that you eat. Because a friend can chalila be a ruination. Hakadosh Baruch Hu should save us from such friends like Rechavom ben Shlomo had. His good friends gave him advice and he caused the break – the aseres hashvotim broke off because of that.

Now friends – you have to look for somebody first of all a person who is a frum shomer mitzvos, number one, no question about that. Number two, he shouldn't be an am ha'aretz, he should be a ben torah. You associate only with bnei torah. Also he should be a person who has good character, because midos are contagious. Midos are contagious.

Then the question is, what do you need good friends for? Who needs friends? The answer is, only to accomplish certain things – if he helps you learn together with him, if he helps you become better. Friends for friendship alone is meaningless! You hear that chiddush? The Chofetz Chaim didn't cultivate friends. Who needs friends? You're in this world to be with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Friends you need that in case they will give you instruction, when they see you're not doing something right, or you need somebody to emulate, to be ashamed in case you do something wrong, because you associate with good people, alright. Otherwise friendship in itself is a meaningless ideal.

When somebody says I have no friends, so you say what do you need friends for?
Hakadosh Baruch Hu is your best friend. He's always around. If you're lonesome, so get married and have children, who needs more than that? Oh I want more than that. No, if that's the case so you're a man that wants society. Society is a waste of time. You go visit your friend, sit in his house, you are chewing the rag with him, and your wife is chewing the rag with his wife, and talking and talking, what's the purpose? It's a bitul torah, it's a waste of time – the friendship doesn't mean a thing.

Unless friendship is for the purpose of avodas Hashem. Let's say you and your friend get together, and you're learning together, you're learning hashkofo together, or mussar, yiras shomayim together, alright, that's a friend.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 6/26/2020 10:30 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Bickering and or dealing with criticism -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #525
Parshas Shelach 5780

QUESTION:

What is the best way to deal with a critical person?

ANSWER:

Now I am going to speak first of all from the viewpoint of the critical person. The best way a critical person should deal with himself, is to keep quiet. Only if you are counseling and you are capable of giving good advice, and it's essential that the advice should be said, and the person to whom you are speaking will listen to you, then you can utilize your abilities to give criticism.

In most cases criticism is a result of a desire to be vexatious. Almost every case. It's a tragedy – the bickering between husbands and wives, good people are wasting their careers. Instead of speaking to each other only kindly words, or not saying anything, they engage in exchanges of acrimony, constantly needling each other for years and years. The effects on their health is certainly not beneficial, but the effects on their neshomos are terrible. They are wasting an opportunity, it's lost lives.

And how important it is for men and women to learn, that פיה פתחה בחכמה, don't say something unless it's wisdom! ותורת חסד על לשונה, and it must conform to the doctrines of kindliness! Otherwise don't talk! What a glorious house it would be, when a husband and wife don't talk! And finally when something is said, it's a kindly word.

Now you may say, that's not called living, we prefer to talk all the time, even though it means that we are harming each other all the time, and making each other unhappy. You know, the bickering couples actually, fundamentally, they love each other. But in practice they hate each other, because they are constantly full of venom, mutual hate. Of course if it would come to a crisis, let's say he saw his wife fall into the ocean, he would dive in to save her. She'd do everything to save her husband, because fundamentally they still love each other, they're still loyal to each other. Isn't it a tragedy, that people that are so devoted to each other fundamentally should spend their lives hurting each other constantly? And that's what bickering means, it means their lives are a failure!

And how important it would be, to study the ways of the eishes chayil, and to make it a principle in life, to learn אמנם אלם, a man's profession in life, and a woman's profession, is to learn to be silent. Only צדק תדברון, and speak only when there is righteousness or kindliness or wisdom.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 6/19/2020 11:37 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Purpose of the ear lobe -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #524
Parshas Beha'aloscha 5780

QUESTION:

Why is the bottom of the ear soft (Kesubos 5:2)?

ANSWER:

Although I am not an expert, but I could immediately give a good reason. The ear is the receiver of sounds, and when the sound hits your ear it vibrates; at the bottom the soft spot doesn't vibrate. The part that has cartilage and skin and bone vibrates, but the bottom is nothing but meat and it doesn't vibrate; it absorbs the sound. That makes the sound that comes into the ear clear – it stops the vibrations. Common sense.

But the gemara says something else. Why is the alya soft? Sh'im yishma dovor sh'eino hagun, if you hear something that is not worth hearing… sometimes you hear something by accident. I was once sitting on a bench, and behind me was sitting a young man with an older man, the older man was relating his experiences. It was terrible! I got up and walked away. It was terrible, he was metamei my mind.

Suppose you cannot walk away for some reason? You are on an airplane, and behind you somebody is saying words that you should not hear. You can't walk off the airplane! You take the fat part of your ear and push it into your ear like this, and you plug up your ear. Oh, that's convenient! That's what the gemara says, that's the purpose of it, you close up your ear.

That's the purpose of it? We know what the purpose is. It's necessary to help you hear properly, otherwise your ear would vibrate. Never mind, the chachomim say. What you say is true, but there is a higher purpose, a much more important purpose. That purpose is, don't spoil your neshomo by hearing a thing that you shouldn't listen to. Very important. I was once waiting in a shoe repair store, all day long his radio was going. It was terrible. All day long the radio was going with all kinds of stupidity, wickedness! His mind is full of garbage. It's so important to protect yourself.

You know, when they come and bring money with the Brinks truck, a man jumps out with a gun, and the other man carries out the bags of money, and they're looking around at all sides. It's only money… what's money? No, you have to be careful, you have to watch. You have to watch your ears even more! You have to have a guard with a gun in front of your ears, so you shouldn't hear the wrong things. What goes into your head is worse than being robbed of money, it's forever! The Kuzari says that what goes into your ears, it goes with you to the Next World, you take along the shtus with you. If you heard love songs when you were a young boy, that shtus goes into your neshama and you take it with you to the Next World! So you have to have a guard with a gun in front of your ears. And so, Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave us His guard here.

So we will repeat a principle now. Although the lobe of the ear is important in the mechanism of receiving sound without vibration, and that's very important, but what's still more important is, the ruchnius of its function! The spiritual advantage. To rescue your mind from being ruined by what comes in.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 6/12/2020 12:46 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Lessons from D-Day June 6th - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #523
QUESTION:

What lesson can we learn from the D-Day invasion of Europe which occurred 76 years ago this week?

ANSWER:

I remember on D-Day in my Shul in Boston, people came and we said tehillim. Hitler had announced, and it was accepted by the entire Germanic people, that now there's a new order in Europe; the German Reich would last a thousand years. He was all powerful. At that time nobody challenged him, and now Hakadosh Baruch Hu showed a mapala of the reshoim. As soon as the Allies landed on the European coast they started destroying the armies of the Nazis.

Now that's an important lesson, we have to know that sooner or later the tzedek will conquer; wickedness does not last in this world. People look only for the moment, all the reshaim that you see who seem to be successful, you watch and you'll see what's going to happen. The end is always unsuccessful and unhappy. Hitler didn't realize that someday he'll have to commit suicide to save himself. And so D-Day was the beginning of the retribution on the wicked. It's very important for us to keep in mind, that beforehand nobody could see any end to his power. Nobody dreamed that he would come to such an end. He was wiped out quickly – the entire Nazi regime was wiped out.

In the times of the communist regime in Russia, it was unthinkable that this would ever stop. Jews in Russia gave up their identity. Except for small groups here and there, otherwise they gave up their identity. They stopped circumcising themselves, they spoke Russian, and many intermarried with Russian gentiles, and they thought from now on equality for all peoples, the communist regime will spread all over the world, all the nations are following us, and therefore it seemed forever and ever. Who would have dreamed the time would come when the whole thing would collapse like a big bubble, and nothing would remain of the communist regime at all!

And so we have to learn that sooner or later Hashem brings a mapala on the reshaim. And so everything that happens in this world is for our lesson, so D-Day comes to teach us, the mapala of the reshaim is imminent!

When Rome was all-powerful, they destroyed the Bais Hamikdash, there were some Jews who were very much dispirited. How could such a thing happen? Rome ruled all over Europe, from Great Britain down into Africa – everywhere they were supreme. Did they dream that some day would come and Rome would no longer exist at all? The entire Roman culture – its religion, and its government would be wiped out of existence from the face of the earth? Nobody dreamed that.

And so when we see the conduct of history by Hashem, it teaches us that sof kol sof, the wickedness is destroyed.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 6/5/2020 10:29 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Devotion to Hashem & Torah, versus other passions - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #522
Erev Shavuos 5780

QUESTION:

I've noticed that whatever people devote their lives to – whether it be various religions, or isms, or sciences, or arts, music, business, whatever – it becomes their consuming passion. Who is to say that as long as the passion is not to be mean to others, who's to say that one passion, or one purpose in living is better than another?
Who says that the devotion to Hashem and Torah is better than any other purpose?

ANSWER:

And we'll say as follows. We'll ask each one, according to his own words. Here is a man who's devoted to flowers; he loves flowers, or loves birds. That's his whole life. So you say to him, look, you're not going to live more than 120 years. At the end of your life, what will you gain from your devotion to flowers? They'll bury you among flowers? The birds will come and sing on your grave? You'll know what's taking place? What will you gain from a lifetime devoted to flowers? Or a lifetime devoted to music? Or a lifetime devoted to idolatry? To worshiping a Buddha image with six arms? A lifetime devoted to traveling, exploration, a lifetime devoted to science – what would you get out of it? Is the science textbook promising that when you die you're going to go to a postgraduate university where you'll study for the next million years? Nobody is promising you anything like that. All they're promising you is a hole in the ground. A hole in the ground? Doesn't pay.

What do we promise him? We promise him something different. Now the question is, let's say you don't know which is true, but isn't it worth gambling on that? After all, what are you going to gain by a hole in the ground? So you must choose one or the other: choose a hole in the ground or choose eternal life. So how do you know? Well, let's say you were deceived, you won't have eternal life – a hole in the ground is surely not eternal life. Here's a vadai and here's a safek, so you might as well take the chance. Nothing to lose, simple as that.

Nothing to be gained, when the time comes everybody has to say goodbye to this world. Now is it important how you live in this world? Is it important how much fun you have in this world? It comes to an end, people get old, worn out and ill, everything turns grey and sour, until it becomes ashes to them. So it's all nothing. Memories? Memories are nothing; you don't take memories with you. And so it's a question what's going to happen after the grave. And all these isms tell you that after the grave, you'll be as dead as a doornail.

Good Shabbos and Good Yomtov To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 5/28/2020 2:25 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Going on a trip for relaxation -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #521
Parshas Bamidbar 5780

QUESTION:

What about going on a trip as relaxation?

ANSWER:

It depends what you mean by a trip. If you want to take a trip down Ocean Parkway, I'm all for it. It's fresh air, and it's exercise; you're not wasting money. A trip someplace by a vehicle – in a plane or whatever it is – is not refreshing. Now sometimes a person is so confused in his mind, that you have to do anything to get his mind off his troubles, then I'm not saying anything about that. But ordinarily for relaxation you don't go on trips. Trips make you tired, and you don't get the required exercise and fresh air that help a person come back to normal, and therefore it's 100% waste of money.

If you could take a system of touring, on the malls of the city streets, by daytime –not by night. Walking for miles and then coming home, and eating a nice meal and going to sleep – if necessary going out again for a walk, if you are so serious, but traveling is no answer for the problem of relaxation.

People travel back-and-forth, go to Eretz Yisroel, and Florida, and sometimes, Switzerland too, and all they do is spend money, and get more and more tired when they come back.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 5/22/2020 11:26 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Knei L'cho Chaver, How? -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #520
Parshas Behar - Bechukosai 5780

QUESTION:

What does the mishna mean when it says knei l'cho chaver, buy for yourself a chaver? Why should you have friends?

ANSWER:
Now that's a good question, it's not as simple as you think. They tell about the Chofetz Chaim that he didn't have friends; he didn't associate much with people. He was busy all the time – teaching, doing gemilus chasodim, he traveled from place to place and established kosher kitchens for the Jewish soldiers. He did all kinds of good things, but he didn't have friends, he didn't have cronies to associate with them.

It's a good question, why do you have to have cronies? And the answer is, you don't – but you have to have chaverim. Now here is the way to do it, knei l'cho chaver, acquire chaverim. First of all when you are learning, it's a big mistake to learn by yourself. When a person sits by himself and he learns, he's going to deceive himself, he'll waste his life away. Very important to teach that to all your children; get accustomed to chavrusos. When you talk it over to each other, it's lively, it's actual, and you'll remember it, and understand it better – very important.

Now sometimes there are exceptional cases, people without chavrusos succeed in learning, but do you know what they do? I once saw a yeshiva man, I'll tell you how he developed – today he's a good rosh yeshiva. He sat by himself and learned, but he talked aloud to himself all the time, he talked over the whole piece of Gemara constantly, like this. I watched him in the beis hamedrash, he said aloud the whole Rashi, Tosfos over and over again, so that's a form of chavruso! He was a chavruso with himself. You must do that – it's a tragedy to learn by yourself and not do that. Life goes by and you think you understand it – you're just deceiving yourself.

How do you buy a chaver? Knei means with money; if necessary pay money for a chaver; yes, don't be ashamed. If you can acquire him by giving him something in return – you are friendly to him, and you cooperate with him, and he sees that you're giving him in return a benefit in your chavruso in learning, that's also knei. You must buy a chaver, whatever the price is. A chaveris very important.

It doesn't mean that you have to associate with him all the time, on the street and visit him in his home. I don't believe in visits at all – visiting! It's devorim beteilim. But when you come together for certain good purposes, a chaver is very important. In avodas Hashem, sometimes a chaver is very important in maasim tovim. It's not easy to get a chaver in maasim tovim.There's a sefer called Cheshbon Hanefesh; he says that if you have an intelligent wife, she's the best chaver to work in mussar together. Of course it's not so easy! But if you have such a wife, he has a whole program to work on a different midah every week. You and your wife get together and you plan this week's midah. One week you talk about savlonus, another week you talk about zerizus. There are thirteen midos, four times during the year, you go through each seder.

So he says the best chavruso to work on mussar is a wife that's intelligent. Otherwise – do it anyhow.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 5/15/2020 11:28 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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what is the most suggested and proper way to relieve stress and tension?
Pashas Emor 5780

QUESTION:

What is the most suggested and proper way to relieve stress and tension?

ANSWER:
That's a big order a man like me.

If it doesn't have any organic cause – of course you have to find out, no organic cause – then number one is: sleep. Sleep as much as you can. Sleep is the method of sewing together the torn fabric of the nerves. Sleep is a very big refuah for almost everybody who's in stress or tension.

Second, next to sleep, is to be busy. Habatolo meivi lidei shi'amum, idleness brings to confusion, and therefore it's important to find something to do. Whether it's a way of earning money, or doing gemilus chassodim, helping the sick in hospitals, going to a yeshiva and volunteering your services – do something. If you could do something that's creative, make money, also; do anything.

Number three, it's very important to have in your mind – thoughts. When you're in stress, think; compare yourself to other people who are less fortunate. That's why it's a good thing when you're in stress to go to a funeral parlor, or to a cemetery, and stand there and look. Everybody that goes to a funeral walks away happy, that's a rule, klal gadol. And so think about all the cripples. Walk through a hospital, see people sitting around, they can't raise up their hands, they can't eat by themselves, some people have tubes in them; spend time studying them. When you walk out, I guarantee a big part of your stress will be gone. I will repeat these three things, although I'm not an expert on the subject, but these three things I'm sure won't bring you any harm.

Number 1 - Sleep as much as possible.
Number 2 - Make yourself busy to get your mind off the foolish things that are bothering you; be busy.
Number 3 - Look at unfortunate people in this world, there are so many nebach, and see what you are being spared; all their tribulations, all their sufferings, all their degradation… and you'll begin to feel how lucky you are.

I am sure some of the stress will thereby be relieved.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 5/8/2020 4:27 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Benefit of physical infirmities - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #517
Parshas Tazria - Metzora 5780

QUESTION:

Is there any benefit to physical infirmities, especially those of old age?

ANSWER:
Rabbeinu Saadia Gaon asks this in the Sefer Emunas Vdeios; he says what's the benefit of illness? So it's not a klutz kasha! And here is what he answers: he says illness has a great function: l'hachnia es haliev, to humble one's heart. Now this is very important and it should be discussed by itself, a whole evening should be devoted to it, because it's so greatly ignored, and even those who know about, it's greatly neglected.

The Gemara tells us in Mesichta Brachos and also Pesachim, Chizkiyahu did three things, v'hodu lo chachomim, and the chachomim approved. One of the three things was, gunaz sefer refuos, he concealed a book of remedies. There was a book of remedies and he concealed it, people shouldn't use those remedies. Rashi says why did he do that? Because people had so much confidence in this book that when they became ill, they were not humbled. So we learn from this, that the purpose of illness is to become nichna, humble. Now how many people practice this?

So chas v'shalom next time you catch a cold, you have to wake up from your slumber, and realize here is an opportunity to become nichna. Here's a man going around with a cold, and thinking of nothing but how to get rid of it! Very good you should, v'rapei yerapei, certainly you should try to get rid of it! But there is a purpose to it, and that purpose is being vitiated if you ignore this teaching, you have to be humbled. What does humbled mean?

Next time I won't open such big a mouth against my wife, or against my husband, or against my father or my mother.
Next time I will be more humbled before Hakadosh Baruch Hu, when I bend down in shmonei esrei, I will put more thought into what I'm saying, I will be grateful to Him.
Next time I get well, I won't forget! I will go around saying every day, Baruch Ata Hashem rofei chol basar, You're keeping me well, isn't it a pity you people have no colds, forgetting about that? It's a good idea to be humbled now; you shouldn't need anything to make you humble.

Therefore that's the great benefit of infirmities. For people in old age there's a special benefit, because nobody wants to let go of life, everybody likes to hold onto it for the next million years, it's never time to die, no matter how old you are. You can be sure that in the olden days at the age of 990, when they were dying, they regretted that they had to leave the world so early.

Therefore Hakadosh Baruch Hu makes it easy. He sends infirmities, He sends sickness, and people start getting disgusted when they are very old, they say we'll never get well, and they give up, and they look forward now, we'll die soon anyhow and be relieved. Besides that, they're becoming such a big nuisance to their relatives; they're senile, and it costs a pile of money to support a senile parent. You have to hire an aide to take care of them day and night, and that aide is eating up all the inheritance that you hoped to get! Your parent's savings that you hoped to get one day are being consumed by this aide, and so finally the day comes, nobody is too sorry, both parties are resigned. That's why the infirmities of old age have beneficial purposes.

Another reason is, it gives you the final preparation for the next world. We are so conceited that everything that happens to us in the world, is like water off a duck's back. We get bumps and knocks and we are not humbled. So Hakadosh Baruch Hu tries to humble us once and for all, for good, just before we leave. He gives us a good kick, and we leave the world with a most ungraceful exit, you don't leave the world romantically… you're kicked out of the world! Either you're lying on the table and the surgeon is cutting into you when the end comes, or a man collapses in the street, or some other unromantic way.

And all this is for the purpose of giving you one last massive dose of humility. If you didn't acquire humility before, here's your last chance.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 4/24/2020 2:45 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Posted 4/19/2020 6:29 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Miracle of food versus Krias Yam Suf -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l
Parshas Tzav 5780

QUESTION:

What is the pshat in the gemoro "koshin mezonosuv shel adam k'krias yam suf? A man’s parnoso is as difficult as krias yam suf?

ANSWER:
Now actually it's not so, everybody makes a living more or less, but he couldn't make krias yam suf! And the answer is, koshin for Hakadosh Baruch Hu; Hakadosh Baruch Hu doesn't want to be meshaneh the teva. He made the laws of nature. Who passed the laws of nature? Hashem passed it and He doesn't want to break the laws of nature. Now, when food comes out of the earth, how did that happen? It's a nes! How could food come out of the earth?

Try to bend over and eat some sand or some earth, no nourishment! A watermelon comes out, wheat; everything comes out of the earth. How does it happen? It's nisei nissim. The nes of mezonos has no equal in all of the world. In all of Hashem’s wonderful things, the nes of mezonos is the biggest one, the biggest nes. Like it says, hodu Lashem ki tov ki l'oilam chasdo, l'oisei niflo'os gedolos..L'oisei hashomayim b'svuna ki l'oilam chasdo, a whole list. The bottom of the list says, nosein lechem l'chol bosor ki lolam chasdo, that's the climax the highest nes of all. More than l'goizer yam suf legzorim, more than lemolich amo bamidbor, more than anything else, nosein lechem l'chol bosor!

That's why we have to train ourselves to look at bread as a miracle. Ein zorkin es hapas, you can't throw a piece of bread. Let's say somebody says "Abba please give me a piece of bread", you can't throw it to them, you don't throw tefilin? You can't throw a piece of bread. Bread is a nes, it's a siman of a nes. Therefore mezonos is a tremendous nes; you have to think about that.

Krias yam suf is a very great nes, chamishim umasayim makos, that's nisim upon nisim, but all together even the greatest machmir which made the biggest cheshbonos of how many makos were at krias yam suf is far beneath the thousands of miracles that are included in the production of food from the earth. You should learn that, that's emunah chushis.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 4/3/2020 12:47 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Praying for health and wealth when things are going well. Why pray? -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #516
Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei 5780

QUESTION:

How are we supposed to say refaeinu when we are not ill?

ANSWER:
OH! That's the best time to do it!

Hakadosh Baruch Hu says: Hypocrite! Now when you need me you come to me? It's when you're well and you ask for good health, that Hakadosh Baruch Hu appreciates it. Same is a wealthy man, he is asking for parnosso – a rich man he has plenty of money, please Hashem help me make a living! Ahh, Hakadosh Baruch Hu says, you're My man! When a poor man comes and asks, Hakadsosh Baruch Hu says, what's the chiddush? Certainly you need my help, because you ask me now doesn't mean much, however Hashem has pity on the poor man too.

That's why Dovid Hamelech was so beloved in the eyes of Hashem. He was powerful, he was a victor, he was a king, he was wealthy, he was tall and strong and handsome – and he always prayed to Hashem as if he was nobody. Ana Hashem he said, ki ani avdecho, I am your servant, please help me Hashem! And that's why Hashem loved Dovid. So if you're a successful man and you are praying to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for help, your prayers are worth so much more.

The Gemora says in Mesechtah Shabbos, when a man prays before he is ill, he could get off easily. If a man waits till he's ill and he prays, it's not so easy; and he gives a moshol. Suppose a man walks out into the street and he sees a policeman coming towards him, so he takes out a fiver and he says, not me officer, you're not looking for me. Five dollars can help. What happens if the officer however is writing a summons already? You can't get away with five dollars, it's hard to tear up a summons; for twenty five he'll do it. However if he already handed it into the precinct, it's on the books already, and you need to go to the lieutenant, twenty five dollars won't work, you'll need a bigger sum. Suppose you're already standing in front of the judge, now you can't slip the judge fifty dollars. One of the clerks has to bring a letter to the judge, and he says, here are some documents pertaining to this case, and in those documents is a $500 check. The judge says according to these documents new evidence has been revealed, that cast new light on the subject.

So the Gemora says, before you're ill, you can get by with smaller things, prayer will help. After you're ill, you need maasim tovim, and you need big lawyers, after you're ill. That's why it always pays to pray when you are well. Of course you should always try to pray, but the best time to pray is when you don't need it, when you're not in trouble. That's why every day you should pray.

By the way, don't wait for Shmonei Esrei. It's a good idea every day, in the middle of the day – if you came only to hear this your time wasn't wasted. Every day in middle of the day take out a half minute, it's a worthwhile investment, and ask Hakadosh Baruch Hu, please Hashem keep me well, and keep my wife and children well.

I'm not charging you for that, it's worth a lot of money, you'll be surprised at the results. Every day, ask Hakadosh Baruch Hu, please Hashem, keep me well, and keep my family well. It's a Gemora, l'olam yevakeish adam rachamim shelo yechele, a man should always ask for mercy, not to become ill.

Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 3/20/2020 2:04 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Patronizing Shomer Shabbos stores -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #515
Parshas Ki Sisa

QUESTION:

Should we give our patronage to a Shomer Shabbos store, rather than to a chain store, even though the Shomer Shabbos costs more?

ANSWER:
Absolutely! Of course there is a limit too, but to some extent we must make it a point to patronize Shabbos observers. Whether they are shoe stores, whether they are fruits stores, any kind of business. Shomer Shabbos dentists, Shomer Shabbos physicians, Shomer Shabbos plumbers. A lot of people are careless in that.

It's our business to encourage our fellow Jews, and therefore even if it costs, it's your contribution.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 3/13/2020 2:16 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Thanking Hashem in public? - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #514
Parshas Tetzaveh 5780

QUESTION:

Should one enumerate his good fortune to others, or he should not?

ANSWER:
The gemora says if a man is doing business with objects that look big – let's say a person is selling big flowerpots – there is not such a big profit from it, but he should be careful not to display it on the sidewalk, unless he can't help himself. Because people who pass by see big flowerpots, think he's a millionaire! They don't stop to think that it's a small profit. The idea is, try to conceal your prosperity from others; that's a general principle.

Why is that? It hurts people to see somebody else's success; it can't be helped. If you stand in the street and count your money, let's say everybody's honest – of course nobody would do that today or any day, but let's say you're counting your money in a place where nobody except tzadikim go – you're having a sin, you're hurting their feelings… unless you're counting pennies. So you have to be careful.

However, if you are b'khal tzadikim, among righteous people who want to hear how Hakadosh Baruch Hu is helping a righteous man, then you can speak up. You have to be very careful however who the company is. Like it says, gadlu La'shem iti unromamo Shmo yachdov. Dovid said exalt Hashem with me and together we will elevate His name. Dorashti es Hashem v'ononi, I sought Hashem to help me and He answered me! Umikol megurosi hitziloni, He rescued me from all my fears. That's what Dovid says, that the tzadikim should see and rejoice. So for tzadikim Dovid got together people and he told them of the miracles that happened in his life, how he was rescued.

So therefore, if you are in the bosom of your family, among your own children, you can tell them what happened to you when you were a boy, how Hakadosh Baruch Hu helped you, or what other good fortune you had, so together with the family, zamru La'shem chasidov, they'll all sing to Hashem and give thanks what He did to you. So it depends. You have to enumerate to yourself however all the time, all the details of your good fortune.

Should anybody else be allowed to listen in? It depends on who they are.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 3/6/2020 1:01 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Purpose of Havdalah candle -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #513
Parshas Terumah

QUESTION:

Why do we light havdalah candles?

ANSWER:
The first and the greatest gift that Hashem gave this world was light. וירא אלוקים את האור כי טוב, Hashem said the light was good. Do you know why the light is so good? Because with light you can see the work of the Creator – this world has to demonstrate the Creator. And you can look at the world and see the Creator.

Imagine if we didn't have light, and you had to walk into an art gallery, and the beautiful pictures are all along the walls… so it's a waste of time. When you press the [light] button, then everything springs into action. All around us are proofs of the Creator – definite proofs, unimpeachable, incontrovertible proofs, but you have to see them. That's what light means! However it's a great pity that the light goes out, the sun sets.

So Hakadosh Baruch Hu did a miracle and He created artificial light. Now let's not treat artificial light superficially, it's a remarkable phenomenon. Why should there be light? Just because things oxidize, it has to be accompanied by the phenomenon of light? It could've been accompanied merely by heat, other forms of energy!

Artificial light is a special gift, in lieu of sunlight you light a candle, and now you can again look at that orange by candlelight. You can marvel at why the peel of the orange is so beautiful on outside, and on the underside there is no color at all? Now this you should study by day and by night, look at the orange all day long! No question that you'll make something out of yourself by studying the orange.

But then when the sun goes down what will you do? So you'll light the candle, and that's why Shabbos night we light a candle – to thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu for artificial light.

Why Shabbos night? Shabbos night was the first time artificial light came into existence. Adam our first father saw the sun go down – he never saw anything like that, and he thought that the world was coming to an end, and he was overwhelmed with this catastrophe. He thought it was because of his sin, he's being punished now and the world is coming to an end! And he wept all night! Until he saw the sun come up.

While he was weeping he fell upon a stratagem. He didn't have any Diamond matches, he didn't have any electric lights, but he did something. Whatever he did, let's say he took a stone in his anguish and hurled it against the wall and a spark came out. And he said, "If that's the case I'll try again, and this time I won't lose that spark!" So he piled up dry leaves, and he gave another bang and this time it caught fire. Adam said, "At least in my last moments before the world expires, I'll be using my eyes to be living!" In the morning when the sun came up he was reassured, and he said, kach hu minhogo shel olam.

We use that first opportunity of light as a memorial every week, and we thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu for artificial light.


Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 2/28/2020 1:50 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Working man not feeling accomplished in learning -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #512
Parshas Mishpatim 5780

QUESTION:

If a person feels he didn't accomplish enough in learning, how can he be satisfied? When he is in business, his heart hurts him that he's not able to learn enough?

ANSWER:
You know, that's the yetzer hora. Every night when a person comes back from work, he could have a little nap. If he can learn 45 minutes every night, he can become a great lamdan. Let him learn let's say just gemara alone, over and over again, one perek until he knows the perek; he can learn it with the translation if necessary. From beginning to end he should be able to daven through one perek. If he can say it like Ashrei, then you're on the road to success. Then another perek. You'll be surprised – after a while he'll know whole mesechtos. It's only the yetzer hora.

What about Shabbos? What about Friday night? What about motzei Shabbos? Sometimes he doesn't work on Sunday either – plenty of time to learn. You have to utilize it. He wants to be at leisure all day long and loaf all day long. So now he'll go back to the yeshiva, and instead of learning, he'll loaf all day long.

No! Don't fool yourself. Therefore if you have the opportunity to learn now, utilize whatever you have. Hamekabel oluv ol Torah, if a person takes the yoke of Torah when he's busy, so Hashem is mavirin mimenu ol malchus v'ol derech eretz, Hashem will make it easier for you and you'll find more and more time to learn as a result.

Make use of the opportunities that you have right now, and you'll be surprised how great you can become in Torah, even by studying Torah in your spare time.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210


Posted 2/21/2020 11:46 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)



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