Commentary on Current Events by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Recently in the news:
Washington Sues North Carolina Over “Bathroom Law”
The federal government recently filed a lawsuit against North Carolina, attempting to force the state to repeal limits on legal protections for “transgender” people. The new state law requires individuals to use the restroom for the gender indicated on their birth certificate.
At a press conference, Attorney General Loretta Lynch declared, "This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation."
"Hayoser goyim halo yochiach," when Hashem sends suffering on nations, isn’t He showing something? "Hamelamed adam daas," isn’t He teaching man daas (knowledge)? So when we hear about what happened in the world, it shouldn’t merely be "current events." Whatever happens in the world is enough to deceive other people, making them think it’s a world of gashmius (physicality). But for us the events of the world should teach us more knowledge of Hashem. — Return to Hashem (#842)
From Living With Others (#R4) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Life is full of opportunities. That’s what Shlomo Hamelech is telling us in Koheles: “lakol zman” there is a time for every kind of perfection. One opportunity gives you things that the other opportunity won't give you. If you’ll make use of all of them, then you become the perfect man. That's why we’re in this world.
Even one who is still far from this ideal perfection should exert himself to behave as if he were aware of G-d’s presence, for “the exteriority awakens the interiority.” By following this counsel ... one gradually trains himself to acquire Awareness of Hashem.
Whatever one does with the intention of inducing the True Knowledge will be rewarded with a measure of True Knowledge. — Awake, My Glory
From Improving the World (#792) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
One of the big achievements we have to learn in this world is we have to make other people’s lives sweet, you have to make people’s lives happy. That’s one of the tikkunim (reparations) that make this world a better place because of your being here.
It’s an art that you have to study, you must master how to treat people in order to make a tikkun wherever you go. Instead of being a weed, a thorn, you have to be a flower in this world, with beautiful color and fragrance so passersby look and have pleasure from you.
What’s the purpose that Hashem does sometimes things that are contradictory to [His} principles of kindliness? The answer is there is a great kindliness that’s paramount. And that’s the kindliness called yiras Hashem — to be afraid of Hashem. The greatest achievement that a man can accomplish in his lifetime is yiras Hashem. Now pay attention: Yiras Hashem means to be aware of the presence of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. The more you’re aware, the more successful you are. — The Wine of Prayer (#555)
From Happiness (#79):
Q: Is the mitzvah of settling in Eretz Yisrael applicable today? If it is, who is obligated and who is exempt?
A: Whether the mitzvah of settling in Eretz Yisrael is applicable today is a question in the Rishonim (early Talmudic commentators). It’s a machlokes (dispute) whether there is such a mitzvah from the Torah or not. But everybody agrees it is a mitzvah d’rabbanan (rabbinic commandment). However this mitzvah d’rabbanan (or mitzvah d’oraisa) depends on the circumstances. It’s permissible to forsake Eretz Yisrael for great purposes such as learning Torah getting married.
To ascend the mountain of Hashem, it is necessary not only to have good deeds, but also to have a perfection of character, which we call middos...
Regarding Noach, we find an expression in the Torah,"‘Tamim hayah bidorosav.’ Noach was a tzaddik, but besides tzaddik, he was tamim. Tamim means a perfect tzaddik.: not only were his deeds good, not only did he do righteous acts, but he was a perfect in his character. — Midos: Whom Hashem Chooses (#544)
Most people are satisfied to live by the practices of frum (religious) Jews. Very good. But they’re missing the opportunity. Once in history do they appear on the scene in this world. And to live a life of habit, of thoughtless habit, is a tragedy of tragedies.
We have to understand the opportunity to change ourselves, to climb the ladder of perfection. — Fundamental Principles (#E-201)
by Rabbi Benzion Greiper
The neshama (soul) is returned to us each morning refreshed and cleansed. It is the source of all the ideas and good things that a person can use to succeed. Here is a story about the power to begin again.
I got a phone call from a friend, who told me that his sister just became religious, but her husband hasn’t joined her. He watches Dallas football games on shabbas, and he also drinks too much and doesn’t work enough. They are now separated. I spoke to her, and she said, “We have two children and my house needs a father.” He’s a nice man and a good father, but he’s out of whack, so they were separated. I tried to speak to him, and it took a month or two until he would respond with a simple hello.
The world is a place of some suffering. When suffering does come, people are so disappointed; they’re upset and their mentality is spoilt... We have to understand that this world is made for our shleimus (perfection), and both the suffering and the happiness are to give us the perfection and bring us to our ultimate goal. — He Loves the Loyal (#E-31)
By Rabbi Avigdor Miller
“Yoducha Hashem kol maasecha — Hashem, all of your deeds praise you” (Ashrei).
A little spider is born and immediately knows how to make the spider web, which is a feat at engineering. Who taught him that? It’s all computerized in his little brain. You need a microscope to see his little brain. But in that little brain, all the details of that excellent feat of engineering are imprinted already, computerized. That’s the sign of design... of great design. Great design only comes from a great designer.
And therefore, when you see a spider climbing out and spitting out of his mouth a material, know that in his stomach it was a liquid. As soon as it comes in contact with the air, it becomes a thread. If it would become a thread inside of his stomach, he’d be constipated. As soon as he spits it out, it becomes a thread, and he's able to paste it to one corner. And then he flies quickly across with agility to another corner and fastens the other end; up and down, back and forth. A few threads and he has a business already, a parnasah. He's ready to catch flies.
Hashem does not need anyone’s praise. To Him, our praise has less intrinsic value than the praise of bacteria underfoot means to us. We need to praise Him, for that is our Perfection, and our eligibility for the happiness of the Afterlife. This career is our life’s purpose, and for this our nation was created. — Awake, My Glory
Suppose all the grocery stores would close down, all the fruit stores and the butcher shops would all close down, all the restaurants would close down let’s say for a month’s time, and there’s no place to go for food. What would happen to us? Imagine such a scenario. In one month chas v’shalom we’d be over, finished.
SimchaMinute by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
We're put in this world to be formed into something beautiful. And so a pummel here... and a knock here.... and a punch here. We think it's all a waste. We would like to get along without it, but that's making us, it's rounding us out, it's smoothing us. It's making us into what we are supposed to become.
Part of our being in this world is involuntary perfection. — Evil of Confusion (#6)
“Amar Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi kol ha’osek b’shira b’olam hazeh, zoche l’omra l’olam habah — If a man is busy saying song in this world [osek means he is busy, and b’shira means saying song, not prose] he’ll be rewarded that he’ll continue to say this song in the next world” (Masechta Sanhedrin).
If a man says things are good, that’s prose. But suppose you get a call that you won the lottery, you won’t speak prose, you will speak in poetry, you will speak in lyric words. You might even dance too.
Moshe Rabbeinu never was satisfied. He said, "hareini es kevodecha — show me Your glory," I want to see You. He had every form of perfection, but he wanted more and more and more.
That’s teshuva (repentance). Try to become better and better. The real baal teshuva (penitent person) is a person who aspires to greatness of character, to perfection in Torah knowledge, and perfection in all areas of behavior. — Asking for Life (#803)
From Song at Sea (#903) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Q: What should a person do if he is overweight?
A: That’s not a question for which I am an expert, but it states “nedarim syag liprishus” a neder (vow) is a fence that helps a person abstain. It’s important stratagem. Of course you have to be yorei shamayim (fear Hashem) and know what a neder means, but it’s possible to make a neder such as, “Today I’m not going to eat any cake or any candy.”
Say that, make a neder and once you practice one day, you gain a little bit of self control. After a while you can make a neder for a week. You say, “I make a neder this week, no cake and no candy and if I’m going to eat them, each time, I’m going to send fifty dollars for the Lubavitch yeshiva. Choose some place you wouldn’t give ordinarily. Maybe Lubavitch of Satmar. That’s a way out, like a back door, an escape hatch in case you eat. And after a while a person can train himself. That’s why Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave us the power to make nedarim.
SimchaMinute by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Happiness is not possible for one who trusts in anything or anyone other than Hashem, for there is no thing which does not have some flaw of weakness (actually, all things are in themselves nothing, and they all are dependent solely on the will of the Creator).
When one trusts in Hashem, he puts his trust in One Who is all-powerful always; and he therefore is happy in the knowledge that his trust is fully justified. Such a man gains also actual happiness. — Praise, My Soul
Commentary on Current Events by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Police Eyeing ‘Fatal Mix Of Drugs’ in Death of P——--
Authorities could be closer than ever to discovering what killed famous musician P——.
Investigation into his untimely death has led police to the early conclusion that “a fatal mix of drugs” may be to blame....
A man's happiness and his true success in life depend on his knowing clearly what he seeks:
1) The knowledge that he is fully utilizing his life affords him intense satisfaction;
2) and the pursuit of the genuine objectives is intrinsically suited to his spiritual and physical nature, and therefore gives him a foretaste of the ecstasy of the Afterlife. — Sing, You Righteous
The Walnut Street Shul in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Rabbi Avigdor Miller's first rabbinic position (continued)
In 1887, Jews gathered in the home of Monas Berlin to daven on shabbosos and yamim tovim. In time the minyan moved to new quarters. It was called Congregation Ohabei Sholom. By 1901 the growing congregation had enough funds to purchase a property at the corner of Walnut and Fourth Streets, which was to become the site of the Walnut Street Shul. In the early 1900s Congregation Ohabei Shalom merged with another group under the name Congregation Agudas Sholom.
The only genuine form of happiness is to learn that life is full of happy phenomena. Each phenomenon, when properly studied, becomes a source of happiness.
The singing of thanks to the Creator is actually a study of the joys and benefits of that for which the thanks are being given. When one has studied many phenomena in this manner, he is thereby afforded many sources of happiness. — Awake, My Glory
By Rabbi Chaim Morgenstern
The Chafetz Chaim states that the mitzvah of educating one’s children is equal to every other mitzvah, including learning Torah. The following story told by Rabbi Yechiel Yakovson, a prominent educator in Eretz Yisrael, illustrates this point:
A mother was having extreme difficulty managing her children during the morning and evening hours. Her husband was a big masmid, and claimed that he couldn’t spare any more time to help her without disrupting his learning schedule.
When the matter was brought to my attention, I told the father the following: my experience has taught me that you are on the verge of creating a dangerous situation in your home. Unless you devote more time to your wife and children, they will feel neglected, and you are in danger of ruining your children. Moreover, if you don’t invest time in your children now, you will have to invest ten times as much time in the future, with only a tenth of the success.
SimchaMinute by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Teach children the basic pleasures, which are not only readily available to all but are also the only really important pleasures. Happiness is the sum total of many details, and therefore those who learn to rejoice in more details of life will have much more cause for happiness. — Career of Happiness