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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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Raising children without distress...Any reward? - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #553
Parshas Shemos 5781

QUESTION:

Does a mother get reward, if raising her child is all happiness and no distress?

ANSWER:

I'll tell you a little story. There was once a tzadik Reb Elimelech. Reb Elimelech was once standing in the bais hamedrash warming himself on the stove in the winter time. A man came in to his brother, the Rebbe, in the next room and he asked the Rebbe, “How is it possible to serve Hashem with simcha? There's so much trouble in the world, so much difficulty in the world, how can you serve Hashem with simcha?”

So the Rebbe said, “Go out and ask my brother Reb Elimelech.” So he went out to Reb Elimelech who was standing against the stove, and his face was flaming. He said, “Tell me, how can one serve Hashem even though there's difficulty and tzaar in the world?" Reb Elimelech was a very poor man all his life, he hardly had anything to eat. So Reb Elimelech said, “To tell you the truth I am not competent, I never had any tzaar in my life!” He never had any suffering in his life.

If a mother so enjoys her task of raising the children that she overlooks the tzaar and thinks it's only happiness, she's going to get double reward. When a person learns Torah and he groans, it's difficult, he's breaking his head, and looks at the clock all the time, when will the shiur be over? He'll get reward too, but the person who looks at the clock and says, so soon! The shiur is over? It's a pity! He gets more reward.

And therefore a mother who enjoys raising children certainly will get more reward.

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 1/8/2021 1:54 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #552 (Yaakov avinu's "curse" on Shimon and Levi
Parshas Vayechi 5781

QUESTION:

When Yaakov Avinu said to Shimon and Levi, ארור אפם, was Yaakov cursing them?

ANSWER:
When Yaakov Avinu said to his sons, ארור אפם, accursed is their anger, he wasn't cursing them. Yaakov didn't curse his sons; he was blessing them. How do I know? Because at the end of the Parsha it says, after he got through, this is how he blessed them, איש אשר כברכתו ברך אתם, he blessed each one with his brocho. Was that a brocho when he said ארור אפם, accursed is their anger? The answer is, he didn't curse, he blessed them. And the blessing was that from now on, instead of being together in one place where they can make trouble with their anger, so אחלקם ביעקב ואפיצם בישראל, I'll disperse them.

They shouldn't have any lands in which to settle together, because since they are hot tempered it wouldn't be good for them, and it wouldn't be good for the Jewish people. Therefore it's better to disperse them and they should be scattered. So the Leviim lived together with the Kohanim in all the cities of the Leviim; scattered everywhere. They didn't have one place where they can be together, because once hotheads get together, who knows what trouble they can make!

Was that a curse, was that a punishment? It's a blessing for them. So the reason that they did not have any share in the land was that they should have to ask the people for ma'aser.

Now if you need help from people to support you with ma'aser, you have to behave. If you have your own farms, you're independent; you could be an angry fellow and a trouble maker too, especially when you get together in one corner of the land, all the Leviim together. But now that you are dispersed, and every Levi is waiting for the other people to give him ma'aser, a tenth of his produce, you have to behave, and be polite to everybody. You can't be angry. If you are angry, no parnosa.

Now was that a curse?

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 1/1/2021 11:10 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Guidelines to taking a vacation - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #551
Parshas Vayigash 5781

QUESTION:

What are some guidelines to determine when someone needs a vacation, or when it's merely a counsel of the yetzer hara?

ANSWER:

For that, each person's case must be individually considered; it would be foolhardy for me to give a general advice.

Do you enjoy your work? Then you don't need a vacation. A vacation actually doesn't mean anything if you are worn out, because two weeks is going to be spent in hectic traveling, in unaccustomed circumstances.

If you want a vacation to remain home and to sleep all day long, and not to travel – maybe! But vacation to go someplace, besides spending a lot of money that you need, you're going to be in unaccustomed places, you'll overeat in hotels, and you'll be on the go...That's not a vacation, it's just a clichι. You're only following in the footsteps of the herd and you'll come back dead tired to begin your work again.

So most people would be better off if they don't take any of these vacations. If a person does need a vacation, let him remain home and sleep it up for two weeks; then he'll come back with a new zest to work.

Of course nobody will listen to this, but I'm saying 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 12/25/2020 1:43 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Why no mention of the miracle of oil in al hanisim -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #549
Parshas Vayeishev

QUESTION:

Why are the other nissim mentioned in the al hanisim and not the nes of the shemen?

ANSWER:

I'll tell you a little anecdote from the alter of Slabodka zichrono livrocho. It states in the Torah, zachor es hayom hazeh, asher yotsosem m'Mitzrayim... remember this day when you went out of Mitzrayim, b'chodesh ha'aviv... it was a spring day when you went out of Mitzrayim. So the alter said, Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted to remind us that it was nice weather when we went out of Mitzrayim.

Our people were enslaved for so many years, for 210 years they couldn't leave Egypt, and they had been enslaved for so many years with backbreaking work, and finally the time comes to go out, and let's say it's a blizzard, they'd walk out singing in the blizzard. So are you going to stop and make note that it was a beautiful springtime too?

So the alter said no, even in a mountain of kindliness that somebody's giving you, you shouldn't overlook one grain of kindliness. And the fact that the geula took place on a beautiful spring day, you're walking out and you're singing Oz Yoshir, and it was beautiful all around! Nature was blooming! It was Nissan, that helped too; that's part of the enjoyment.

Therefore although the nes of Chanukah was nothing but the shemen, but it was a lot of fun beating the goyim, a lot of fun when a handful of men under Mattisyahu; Yehuda Hamacabi rushed forth with the sword and they hacked down an army that was far superior to them, and they left a field full of dead bodies, it was a lot of fun! Therefore we don't neglect that, we speak about that, but when we want to emphasize the nes we don't mix it, we don't mention the shemen, it's only a hint, v'hidliku neiros b'chatzros kodshecho, they kindled neiros too.

We don't want to speak about it at length, because it would lose its character, we defeated the enemy and we also had a nes of Chanuka – no no, it's belittling it. So the nes of Chanukah is played up by itself. Every night it's a ceremony by itself, and it's nothing but the nes of the oil.
In Shmonei Esrei we can afford to mention the other things too, but don't mix them, because you are making a mistake what Chanukah is about.

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 12/11/2020 1:23 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (1)


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Erasing goyish influence - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #548
Parshas Vayishlach 5781

QUESTION:

When a person has been subject to the influence of goyim, what can he do to erase that influence?

ANSWER:

When you work, what can you do? You have to take it and bear it, you cannot help yourself, you have to make a parnassa, but you must keep in mind that your heart is in the Klal Yisroel. Because many times when you are among goyim or irreligious Jews, you begin thinking and identifying with them, it's natural. A person tends to melt into his environment. So you have to keep in mind, this is not my environment, I'm in galus. When I come back to my bais hamedrash, or to my holy family, that's the place where my neshomo belongs. And you have to be on guard that what they say should not penetrate into your mind.

My Rebbe once said, when you open your mouth you are becoming a rebbe to the person that's listening to you, because your words go into his neshomo forever and ever. A remarkable statement. Any time you speak to somebody else, your words go into his neshomo and remain there forever and ever. The truth is that twenty years later he'll remind himself that once he heard it from you, so you see it didn't get lost even though he forgot about it in the interim. And therefore when somebody – a letz, a rosho or a goy – speaks to you, you must know it has an effect on you, so you should be mevatel b'libo. You should think in your mind that I'm not interested. Think in your mind I'm not interested in what he's saying.

Of course if it's business, if it's things you have to know, technicalities, so listen, but otherwise if it's an expression of a thought, an idea or an ideal, you should be mevatel b'libo – k'afra d'ara, it's nothing to you what they say.

It's only when you get back to your bais hamedrash where you open up your sefer – your yeshiva or your home, where you open up your own sefer – and you live your own life, then you know that what's being said to you is being said in a way that's for your benefit.

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 12/3/2020 11:17 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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The responsibility of marriage - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #547
Parshas Vayeitzei 5781

QUESTION:

Should a person get married if it seems to be the right one, but he's not ready for the responsibility of marriage?

ANSWER:

Now I don't know what it means, that he's not ready for the responsibility of marriage, because the responsibility of marriage requires first and foremost, that a person wishes to accept the duties of a decent human being. I am not talking about frumkeit, I imagine both parties here are m'kabel the Torah without reservations. Still, there are so many cases of two sincere people getting married, when one of them – many cases the husband – is not a mentch at all, and he's not going to become a mentch for the next 20 years.

Now if he is working a steady job, that's a good sign. If he's learning steadily, he's a real ben Torah who's learning, also a good sign. If he's neither, or he is a weak ben Torah and just loafing around, he's not ready for marriage now and he will never be ready for marriage.

Beware of a person who doesn't have the fundamental attributes of a mentch – and sometimes he can be a good ben Torah and also not a mentch, an iluy and not a mentch! It's important to find qualities that are acceptable in the eyes of people. And even if the father might be bribed by the thought that here is an iluy, it's a big kavod for me to have him, but he has to realize that an iluy is not yet a husband. And therefore midos tovos, not only midos tovos, some training as a m'urov bein habrios.

That's why I say again and again, don't wait until you are 18 or 19 years old to prepare for marriage. Prepare as soon as you have any ability to listen to teachers. Train yourself in all good qualities: cooperate, learn to be patient, learn to keep your mouth closed, learn that other people have their idiosyncrasies, not everybody is the same, take responsibilities and bear your share of the burden. All the things that are called derech eretz.

These things everybody should learn before marriage. Now you can't learn everything, but as long as a person is headed in the right direction, and he is interested in acquiring such a form of character, then he's ready for marriage.

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 11/27/2020 3:16 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Yitzchok blessing Eisav through food - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #546
Parshas Toldos 5781

QUESTION:

When Yitzchok our father wanted to give a blessing to his son, so he said, "asei li ma'atamim, make for me tasty things, ka'asher ahavti, like I love". Isn't that a queer thing – in order that my soul should bless you? Did Yitzchok need for his son to make tasty things for him to eat, in order that he should bless his son? If his son deserved a blessing – a prophetic blessing, it was for all future generations, a blessing from Hashem – did Yitzchok have to eat and enjoy the food? And he adds on "like I love"...do you hear the words of Yitzchok Avinu?

ANSWER:

You can't disdain such a motivation. No matter how much you love your son, if your son will bring you a tasty piece of venison and it's garnished with some garlic, and some other kinds of condiments, and you'll really enjoy it, and then you'll lean back and you'll give your son a blessing that's better than you intended to give before. We don't disdain such motivations.

And therefore to bless Hashem, we are persuaded by all the good things of life.

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 11/20/2020 2:20 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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What to look for in a girl..Shidduch -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #545
Parshas Chayei Sarah 5781

QUESTION:

What factors should a man look for in a girl in deciding whether to marry her?

ANSWER:

I spoke about this about a dozen times, so I'll say it briefly again just to please this person.

First of all, she has to be a girl that agrees with his opinions. She has to be m'kabel Ol Malchus Shamayim, she wants to live a frum Jewish life. Never marry with the intention and the hope of changing her – forget about it.

Secondly, she has to be a girl that's healthy – physically and mentally; and in case you're not, you can't be choosy. If you are physically and mentally healthy, then watch out! Be careful whom you marry.

Thirdly, she has to have good character; a good character is very rare – very rare. You'll think she has good character, you'll know better a little later. However do the best you can, ascertain her character. Ask the teachers in the Bais Yaakov School that she attended; sometimes they'll tell you part of the truth. If they say very enthusiastically, so deduct 90%, and it might be worth marrying her. If they're not enthusiastic, and just say she's a fine girl, then forget about it.

If possible, she should come from a good family, because a family in the background has a big influence. If it's not the right kind of a family, then who knows what's going to happen to your children? You want to have good grandparents if possible, good uncles and aunts if possible. So if she could come from a good family, it's worthwhile, too.

It's very important to marry a girl from the same environment as you come from. That's why marry a girl who's in the same country, don't marry a girl from another country. Sometimes it's successful, but there's always a strain on the marriage; always. A man and a woman are two different nationalities; the gemara says that a man and a woman are really two different nations, Noshim am b'fnei atzmom heim (Shabbos 60A). And to put more of a strain on that is not necessary.

So always marry people from the same background. They have the same interests, they have the same kind of food they eat, the same customs; that makes it easier to remain married successfully. It's a very important point.

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 11/13/2020 3:08 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Should a humble mans eyes always be downcast -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #544
Parshas Vayeira 5781

QUESTION:

Isn't it a right way for a humble man always to have his eyes downcast – when you walk?

ANSWER:

Certainly it's the right way. And if you don't know who's passing you, then you don't know. But suppose somebody accosts you, and you hear your name mentioned, now you have to forget that you are an anav, now you have to raise your eyes to discharge your responsibilities, you have to do what the mishna tells you to do. Like it says about Avrohom Avinu: vayisah es einav, he lifted up his eyes; Avrohom didn't just look.

When Avrohom had to look someplace, he discussed it with himself. Does it pay to lift up the eyes? When he came to the decision, yes, so he lifted up his eyes, vayisah es einav, he raised up his eyes. We think it's just an expression. But our eyes are always roving. But Avrohom wasn't looking everyplace, he was looking on the ground in contemplation, he was always communing with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. But now he saw somebody coming, he heard them, so he discussed with himself, should he interrupt his meditations? He said, well I have to do it, somebody is coming, I have to greet him! So he lifted up his eyes.

So when you are accosted by somebody, even though you're a big tzadik and your eyes are always on the ground, but you have to make a decision to raise your eyes, and once you're greeting that person, you have to go all the way and do it with these three conditions.

And remember the three conditions: sever panim yafos. A face you have to show, and it has to be a face with thought in it, and yafos, a nice expression on your face.

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 11/5/2020 6:38 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Bringing others close to Torah and Yiddshkeit - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #543
Parshas Lech Lecha 5781

How much time should a person give away to help others come closer to Torah and to Yiddishkeit?

ANSWER:

Now that's a question that I have been concerned with for at least forty years and I never found an answer.

Tentatively we say as follows: as long as you're interested in learning, if you have an hour that you want to spend on learning, do it for yourself. But keep in mind that there are hours that you do waste. Many people need some recreation; it's fun to be mekareiv rechokim.

And there is plenty of wasted time – I'll give you an example. If you're a yeshiva man, Friday after the seder, if you would sit in the Bais Hamedrash while they're sweeping up, and you sit in the dust and you continue to learn – some people do that – till the last moment… just before Shabbos you run home to take a shower – don't budge, keep on learning!

But if you are going to waste time Friday afternoon, then waste it on kiruv rechokim, and get Olam Habah in your spare time. There is a lot of time wasted by everybody. Some people need a little rest from learning and a change.

But the rule is – it may sound selfish, but I wouldn't budge from that. If you have an hour to learn, do so, and don't give it away for any other 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
QUESTION:


Posted 10/30/2020 2:25 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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The Oceans -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #542
Parshas Noach 5781

QUESTION:

Why did Hashem divide the oceans?

ANSWER:

First of all, most of the oceans are one. The Atlantic and Pacific are connected and therefore they are like one ocean; inland seas are separate. But I want to tell you this: even the oceans themselves have different climates, and different inhabitants. And the purpose is, Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted His world to be a department store from which nothing is lacking.

The world is supplied with every kind of marine animal, like it has almost every kind of land animal, and all these help to complete the perfection of Hashem's creation. When people see so many things, especially so many different kinds of fishes, like Rashi says in Mesechta Rosh Hashana (Daf 31.) when you see so many kinds of different fishes, on the fifth day we say Harninu, make song to Hashem.

Why make song on the fifth day? Because He created fish and fowl. And Rashi says, because when you see different kinds of fishes, various fishes, and various birds, you are overwhelmed by what you see. You see the greatness of Hashem's creation and you sing to Him. If you see only one kind, it's monotonous, you don't notice it. You see all kinds of birds and all kinds of fishes, it makes your mind awake, you are stirred to awareness of the greatness of Hashem, and you say Harninu. Sing to Hashem.

And that's the purpose why there are different kinds of climates in the sea, because different kinds of fishes and different kinds of marine animals flourish in different parts of the sea.

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 10/23/2020 2:37 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Life in space? - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #541
Parshas Bereishis 5781

QUESTION:

If life, even plant life, was discovered elsewhere in the universe, wouldn't that contradict our belief that Hashem created the earth and luminaries for the benefit of man?

ANSWER:

I'll discuss this with you when they first discover life someplace in space. The truth is, there is no statement anywhere that life doesn't exist in space. That cannot be a statement in the Chumash; it doesn't say anywhere in the Chumash or the Gemara that there is no life in space.

No man – there won't be any man anywhere in the universe – because man, the Torah says, comes only from Adam and Chava, and they are down below.

So far they didn't invent any vehicle that would take them to the distant stars. But life could be. I don't believe that there is, but it wouldn't be a contradiction to the Torah if life will be discovered on some other heavenly body.

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 10/16/2020 12:23 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Understanding the Asara Harugei Malchus - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #539
Parshas Ha'azinu 5781

QUESTION:

Why didn't Hashem answer the prayers of those tzadikim (Asara Harugei Malchus) whose lives were taken, especially when they were dying al kiddush Hashem?

ANSWER:

Each case has to be judged separately. Take Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva was tortured to death at the age of 120. Now you understand he wouldn't live much longer than that. He had lived a successful life. Rabbi Akiva had been very wealthy! Rabbi Akiva's second wife was a famous beauty. Rabbi Akiva had become so famous that his name resounded throughout the world: Ata Akiva ben Yosef sh'shimcha holech m'sof h'olam v'ad sofo. So there was nothing that he didn't accomplish for himself in this world. And Rabbi Akiva raised up disciples who gave to us the entire Torah – all the Torah comes from Akiva's disciples to us.

So now he would go to his bed, and get pneumonia like old people usually do, and he would die an unimportant and uneventful death? Instead, Rabbi Akiva died the death of a martyr, al kiddush Hashem, and he was able to fulfill in his last moments, v'ahavtah es Hashem Elokecha, I love Hashem, b'chol nafshecha, with all your life, even when He's taking your life. The story of Rabbi Akiva's martyrdom is in the Gemara as an example for our people forever and ever.

So what would've been better for Rabbi Akiva, to die of pneumonia, or to die the way he did? He made an exit like a great hero! Instead of lying in a coma with doctors standing around him, he was standing among Romans and his flesh was being combed off of him with iron combs. That's a picture for history! Rabbi Akiva desired nothing better than that. He made his exit in the most glorious way.

Each case has to be studied separately. In some cases the tzadikim served as object lessons. Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon, the gemara says why was he burned alive? And the gemara says, sh'hoyo hogeh es Hashem b'osyosov, he said the name of Hashem in public. He said the secret name, the ineffable name of Hashem he said in public. Now he did it for his reasons, but when he passed away in this manner it served as an object lesson for history; that when it comes to the glory of the Almighty's name, nobody will be spared. The greatest man has to be aware that he shouldn't transgress on the majesty of Hashem. And that's the great lesson that we learn from Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon.

Each case is a separate case. Hakadosh Baruch Hu listens to prayers, but when it comes to certain great lessons and great opportunities, then He says, you're praying for something that's not good for you. We pray and we say, You should fulfill kol mishalos libeinu l'tova, all the requests of our heart are for good. Hakadosh Baruch Hu says, sometimes there are things that are better than what you think are good, and therefore He bestows upon them those things that they may have not wanted, and still, it actually was for their greater benefit.

And that's why tzadikim don't always get what they wish. Sometimes they are praying for things that are the opposite of good, although they don't think so.

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 9/25/2020 10:13 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Why be a Tzadik - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #538
Erev Rosh Hashana 5781

QUESTION:

If Hakadosh Baruch Hu judges tzadikim so strictly, so it doesn't pay to be a tzadik?

ANSWER:

Suppose you're given the choice to be free from taxes. You'll never be drafted in the army, you'll never be called to jury duty; all you have to do is to change into a four-footed animal with a tail.

You can trot the streets, nobody will stop you and say "where's your draft card?" You are free to wander everyplace. Even if you walk in the parks, nobody will accost you: you'll live a life of Riley! Just change into a dog.

And the answer is: it pays to do anything to be a man, and to be a Jew it pays to do anything, and to be a tzadik it pays to do anything.

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 9/18/2020 1:05 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)


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Forced into being good..any reward - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #537
Parshas Nitzavim - Vayeilech 5780

QUESTION:

When a person is forced into being good, does that detract from his schar?

ANSWER:

No. Gadol hametzuvah v'oseh m'sheino metzuvah v'osheh, if you're forced to do something you get more schar. Why is that? Tosfos explains, because the yetzer harah doesn't want to be forced. Just because you are forced the yetzer harah puts up a fight, why should I? And you force yourself to obey; no, I'm going to obey, despite the fact that I'm forced to do it I will obey. So you are kofeh es yitzro to obey! There's a tremendous reward, Gadol!

Of course if you volunteer to do things when you are not forced, also there's some schar, but gadol, it's much greater if you are forced and you willingly cooperate and do what you are told to do.

Therefore, if you're in a Yeshiva and the Mashgiach is looking at you – you like to talk with your chaver in the Bais Hamedrash, and the Mashgiach is looking at you – and you don't talk? You should know that there are chatzufim that talk, even if the mashgiach is looking at them! But you are kofeh es yitzro and you decide not to talk, out of respect for the Mashgiach, and therefore you get schar for not talking. So you're a good man, because you were forced to be good, never regret it! It's worth everything in the world, to force yourself to be good.

Once a boy came to me in Yeshiva and said to me, "I want you to tell me every time I do something wrong!" I almost fainted when I heard that. Only one time in history that a boy came to me in the Bais Medrash, "If you see something wrong in me you should tell me about it."

He wanted to be forced to be good. To be forced to be good is a tremendous benefit.

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 9/11/2020 3:27 PM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)



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