Parshas Haazinu 5779
How should we view those frum Jews who are ostentatious in displaying their wealth?
You know the answer yourself, what is there to talk about? No good is done to the children when their parents indulge in luxuries. There is no question even a frum boy or girl is not the same, unless a wealthy father and mother insist on moderation in what the children are allowed to have. It's possible for the wealthiest of people to live with the ideals of Torah if they are aware of the issues involved. Now, the mere fact that somebody builds a wealthy home and shows off his prosperity, that's not such a tragedy. Why not? If he has the money let him do what he wants with it. But we're talking about indulging in intemperance (self-indulgence, greed).
Travel for instance, is a way of wasting money and wasting one's life. Just because people have money to go to places, doesn't mean that it's necessary for them to go. If they are looking for happiness elsewhere, they are sure to be disappointed. The true happiness is found in an idealistic home. Just to say that I need change in order to relieve my mind, is an excuse of imitating the ways of the Gentiles. When Jews learn how to enjoy the values of Judaism, going to the Beis Haknesses is an enjoyable experience; you learn how to daven with kavono, you'll love it. When you sit home and Hakadosh Baruch Hu is giving you a sumptuous supper, you thank your wife and tell her how good the supper is, compliment her, and then enjoy it. And then turn to Hakadosh Baruch Hu in birchas hamozon full of gratitude, but bentch. I used to learn with a Lubavitcher person, my Rebbe for a year when I was boy, and I used to see him bentch; it was a birchas hamozon worth remembering, his bentching took longer than his eating. The purpose of eating is to bentch!
It's so important for people to learn how to enjoy avodas Hashem. There are some people who really love to learn Torah, their happiness is learning. When they have a vacation, they don't want to go anyplace, all they want is to go to the Beis Hamedrash, shivti b'veis Hashem kol y'mei chayei, the greatest happiness really is the simchas Hatorah.
Of course all these things need sechel, and they need training, but everbody needs sechel to learn how to enjoy life, otherwise what would you do? You'll begin imitating goyim and going for entertainment. Entertainment is a Gentile attitude. There is no such word for it in the Jewish lexicon. And it means finding ways and means of wasting your life. In the meantime while you are doing it, you act as if you're enjoying it, and many times you are paying money for it too. But when people learn how to enjoy life in the simple kosher and truthful ways, they'll begin understanding that there is anentirely different way of being happy.
Even if you learn how to enjoy a walk. You enjoy looking at the sky and breathing fresh air, these are the simple pleasures that after a while they grow on you and it's worth more than all the money in the world.
And so we say to our wealthy brothers, you want to build expensive homes, why not, go ahead. Of course keep in mind that some of your money has to go to Hakadosh Baruch Hu in recognition that He gave it to you. But also keep in mind that intemperance, wasting money, and going all out for pleasures is the opposite of pleasure. When people learn how to become connoisseurs in mashke, and he has a basement full of all kinds of liquors, he has a collection of poisons. Schnapps is actually a poison. Sometimes you might need a little bit for a toothache, or for a sore throat, but when people consider it a career, and many people are able to tell the differences in tastes and in vintages, that's already an intemperance and it will never lead to anything good, it's the opposite of good health too. Any form of intemperance is a ruination for a person's mind and for a person's body.
And so to our wealthy brothers we say, take your money and invest it, and keep on becoming wealthier, Hashem should give you happiness. But always remember that the real happiness does not come from things that can be bought with money.
Good Shabbos To All
How much Hishtadlus, how much effort does one have to exert for a Shidduch?
Number one: Al Zos Yispallel Kol Chosid L'eis Metzoh, for this every pious Jew has to pray, when the time comes to find. Metzoh means to find a wife. Now actually Metzoh means to find anything. If you want to find anything, any success, you have to pray. A very important ingredient in our lives is Tefilah, you have to ask Hashem. But when it comes to a wife, it's an especial requirement, because so many things are necessary in order to succeed. Not only that that person has to be willing to marry you, sometimes you’d be better off if he would be unwilling. You have to make sure that only the right one is willing to marry you. And there are so many things you have to ask for. Now since you don't know, you’re young and inexperienced, so trust Hakadosh Baruch Hu, but ask Him constantly. Before marriage you must ask constantly.
And something else: When your daughters are getting close to eighteen, get busy praying to Hashem with all your heart. VERY IMPORTANT! And if you shed a few tears, no harm. Sharei Demo'os Einon Nishlavous, the gates of tears are never locked. You need a great deal of help to get married properly, and to marry your daughters properly.
And when you say tomorrow, by the Na'nuim, Hodu La'shem, if you married off your daughters well, it wouldn't be a bad idea, make one Na'nuim for this son-in-law, Iy Yi Yah, Thank You Hashem, and for the other son-in-law, that's how to work it. It's such a very big thing that you never can thank enough for a good son-in-law or for a good daughter-in-law. And that's how you have to think when you make the Na'nuim; it shouldn't be a mechanical thing. What does the Na'nuim mean? It's our thanks are to You because it came from You to us, our thanks are to You because it comes from You to us, that's what we are saying, back and forth. And all directions, means from where it comes from, no matter where the good flow comes from, it's only coming from You all the time.
And therefore you take your backbone, that's the Lulav, that's your Shedra, and you take your heart, that's the Esrog, and you take the Hadasim, that's your eyes, and you take the Aravos, that's your lips, your mouth, and you take all of these and you say, I dedicate them to You Hashem, for what you did for me, back and forth, you should make Na'nuim.
However, this business of praying for a wife, also must be accompanied by exercising the utmost caution, ask advice. Always ask advice before you get married. Don't be hasty even if you have the right girl, take your time, ask somebody, and when that person approves, go ahead, B'hatzlacha.
What is the meaning of shaking the lulav in all different directions?
There are a number of meanings. One is, the same as when we say krias shma, shma yisroel...Hashem echod, You are one, north, south, east, west, above and below, in all directions there is nobody but You! So we point the lulav in all directions exactly for the same significance, Hashem echod! That's what the lulav says.
Another significance is, the holucha and havoua, the lulav first goes out towards Hashem and comes back to us. Which means, we serve You, we thank You, we express our appreciation to You, and You bestow Your bounty on us; it comes back to us.
And so, as the person makes the nanuim and he recognizes that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is the melech, is in power everywhere, so as a result, Hakadosh Baruch Hu bestows upon him the results of recognizing His power.
What's the significance Hoshana Raba of knocking on the earth? By the way, you don't have to knock off the leaves; you just have to tap the ground with the hoshanos.
The significance is this: there are a number of different kinds of prayers. There's a prayer in your thought, even without saying words, that's called bina haggigi - Dovid said, understand my thought, he said to Hashem. Sometimes a person is lying very ill, chalila, he can't even speak - but he can pray in his heart to Hashem, that's one way of tefila. Another way of tefila is with the mouth, means - not l’afukei, not to think in your heart, oh no, that's not called tefila, that's called davening. Davening is not praying, that's just to get over with it. No. When you pray with your heart and you say it with your mouth, that's another madraiga of tefila.
There's another madraiga of tefila called maaseh, doing certain deeds, and there are a number of these. One is hakofos, going around, like Yehosua went around with his people for seven days around Yericho, that was a tefila, and that's when Yericho finally collapsed, the walls collapsed. That's why we make hakofos, we go around with the arba minim, and on Simchas Torah, it's a tefila. So next time you go around don't think it's just a ceremony, it's a way of praying to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
Now, knocking on the ground is a maaseh of tefila, because the ground is from where our source of food is. We pray to Hakodosh Baruch Hu, He should bless the ground with rain, and we take the arovos - the arovos need water, they grow by water; they need a lot of water. So they are just like we are, they need water like we need water, it's a symbol of the great need for water. We take this plant that needs water and we tap the ground and we say, Hakadosh Baruch Hu have mercy on us like You have to have mercy on the arovos, and see that water is given to the earth that it should yield its abundance. It's a tefila for parnoso, a tefila for rain. Actuality it's a tefila for life, because if you don't have these wherewithal's that make life possible you don't have anything.
Im ein kemach ein Torah, therefore it's a tefila for everything.
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
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