If we don’t study what He does for us, we will never be aware of the things that we are continually receiving. We are so accustomed to them that we don’t even feel that these things are a benefit to us. And therefore a necessary prerequisite to practicing our service to Hashem is to spend time thinking about what we are receiving. — Ohr Avigdor Shaar Avodas Elokim
From Singing in the World (#1) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Some Jews think this world is suffering; It’s only affliction. He thinks, “I’ll get it [my pleasures] all in the next world, that’s where it’s waiting for me.”
So as he sits for his breakfast eating eggs and butter and jam on his bread. He’s afflicting himself with coffee and cream. And he’s so sad at his plight in this world. At lunchtime again he goes through the whole torture all over again — and he’s waiting for the Next World; there, at least, he’ll be repaid. There all his pious deeds, his Torah, his mitzvos, will be paid back.
In the history of people, if you look back on every incident in your life, the purpose was to bestir you to think of Hashem. Of course, in most cases you didn’t. So from now on, be on guard — whatever happens, it’s for the purpose of making you, to be reminded of the most important fact in the world: That Hashem is in charge. That’s what history is for, and that’s tefilah (prayer). — Man of Tefilah (#E-091)
From Sing, You Righteous by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
The glider-wing of the maple seed is a demonstration that the maple tree is “aware” of the wind. Science books call the wing a modified leaf, which is the same as calling a glider a modified board, or calling an electric bulb a modified candle.
The wing is indeed a paragon of purposeful technology, and is no more accidental than the wing of an airplane. It is made of lightweight material which when it dries becomes thin and taut. A thin frame of tough material runs around the wing to give it firmness and to prevent it from crumbling apart.
Yes, there is happiness in this world. Every time you eat, every time you sleep. All the things we enjoy in life — Hashem did them to give us happiness...
We should realize this, and, even though sometimes there are tragedies, by and large it’s a world of happiness. The fact that people are not understanding enough to appreciate it, that’s their fault. If a person would see how lucky he is, he’d be happy with what he has. — Five Minutes a Day
From All Is Happiness (#E-60) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Raising a big family is a very difficult thing.
The Gemara says a person who has endures tzaar gidul banim (the suffering from raising children), “aino ro’eh p’nai Gehinom — will never see the face of Gehinom.” She won’t go to Gehinom, even for a short visit. She had enough “purification” in this world; she suffered from house full of children. You have to take care of this child, and give in to this child, and cope with this child… and sicknesses and fighting... all kinds of problems. When a mother brings up her big family, no question it’s a life of difficulty.
In This World everything is a gift for which we are expected to “pay,” by showing gratitude. Even the air we breathe is a gift to us. We need to pay for the air we breathe, as it says, "For every breath praise Hashem" (Tehillim 150:6). For every breath we have to pay Hashem. Look how long we have been breathing. Did we thank Him for the air? It doesn’t enter our minds at all. — Ohr Avigdor Shaar Avodas Elokim
From Ohr Avigdor Shaar Bitachon by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Pleasures serve a very important purpose in your life, as long as you place them within the context of your service to Hashem. Always remember your priorities.
For example, Chovos Halevavos doesn’t want a person to feel that the bread he eats is tasteless, without pleasure. When he walks in the street and he sees the sunlight, he should not think it’s nothing. On the contrary, as was explained in the Shaar Habechinah, the true servant of Hashem sees the kindness in everything. He sees how Hashem has put wisdom and kindness into all forms of material existence. As it says, His greatness and His goodness fill the world (Shabbas Shacharis).
So when he eats whatever he eats, he certainly enjoys it and he thanks Hashem that it’s so pleasant to eat food. There is no question about that. So what is Chovos Halevavos trying to tell us with his discussion of abstinence?
The fundamental principle of the Universe is the Kindliness of the Creator, and Man’s first duty is to recognise this kindliness and to proclaim it...
When men weep without cause, they thereby propagandise against Hashem’s kindliness. We commemorate this principle when we mourn on the Ninth of Av by looking back to recognise the happiness which we formerly possessed but which we failed to appreciate fully. — Journey into Greatness
From It Is Forever (#R12)
Q: Why were such great personalities, like Onkelus, born gentiles, wouldn't they have been greater if they had been born Jews?
A: You could ask why wasn't Avraham Avinu born a Jew? Avraham was born a ben Noach, not a Jew. The answer is it was his test and he passed the test and that's what made Avraham great.
It was the ten tests that Avraham passed that made him great. The great people who came to us from the outside, who came under the wings of the Shechina (Divine Presence), are especially beloved because of that.
When you sit down to eat; does it cost you any money to say, "I’m eating l’shaim shamayim (for the sake of Heaven)"? "I’m eating to serve Hashem"? That’s what the Shulchan Aruch says you should do: say, I’m eating in order to make my body healthy ... so I should be able to serve Hashem.
You can say it too; say it outloud: "I’m eating in order to have koach (strength) to serve you Hashem!" That’s a tremendous achievement. — Eating In Service of Hashem (#851)
By Rabbi Pinchos Jung
Two men looked out through prison bars,
one saw mud and one saw stars.
Why were their views, from the very same spot, so strikingly different? How did it happen
that they saw opposites? Was it just that one of them looked up towards the sky and the other looked down at the ground?
Here is another, more pertinent, question. Why do so many of us spend the majority of our spoken words on grumbles and complaints, murmurings and meanings? Why do some of us walk about with faces as long as the Forth Bridge and as sour as vintage vinegar? Why do we often bear a grudge against the whole world and everything in it, except our beloved selves?
Holy people find joy in eating “before Hashem”: the gratitude for food, with the awareness that they ate “before Hashem,” was their joy...
The holy nation that loves Hashem, in order to augment this love, they eat and rejoice before Him; and thereby they gain the acquiescence of the body together with the mind to evoke the strongest feelings of devotion to Hashem. Eating is one of the most effective means of achieving the emotions of Gratitude and of Love for Hashem. — Fortune Nation
By Rabbi Benzion Greiper
We are continuing with the begin again series, which are based on the teachings of my rebbi, Rav Shmuel Elchanan Brog, zatzal.
Today, everyone’s jumping to psychiatrists and psychologists and medication. If you can’t control a classroom, it must be because the students need medication. We’re jumping the same way the rest of the world is jumping today.
It could be that the class size is too big. A little kid is able to build, build, build wherever he goes. Outside, he can build mountains, but in school he can’t sit. It could be that the husband and wife simply don’t understand each other. I hear so many times, “He gets along with everyone except for me.” So don’t jump to medication. Don’t jump to psychologists so fast. You have to jump with the proper advice from chachamim (sages).
When you’re eating kosher ice cream or kosher chocolate cake, then you should practice being grateful—it’s easier [than practicing when you're suffering]! That’s when it’s time to flex your gratitude muscles.
But practice up on it. First of all make a very big bracha (blessing). And while you’re enjoying it, think of all the components. Think of the sugar and the chocolate and the other flavors, the coloring… think of all the delectable ingredients that go in to make this such a luscious experience and while you’re enjoying it, what Hashem is doing for you. — Torah of Suffering (#39)
In geometry, a golden spiral is a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is φ, the "golden ratio". Stated as a decimal fraction, the golden ratio equals approximately 0.6180340. Mathematicians since Euclid have studied the properties of the golden ratio, including its appearance in the dimensions of a regular pentagon and in a golden rectangle, which may be cut into a square and a smaller rectangle with the same aspect ratio.
When you sit down to breakfast you should say "I love, You, Hashem," to yourself. Oh, you say, you love Hashem because of breakfast? It’s not fitting for such a subject!
You’re making a big mistake, because now we’re saying that to love Hashem you have to climb up a ladder, and the ladder is many rungs one after the other, and you can’t afford to skip any rungs. You need all of them. You have to utilize all the motivations that are possible to find. — Learning to Love Hashem (#675)
From The Eyes Mislead (#198) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Our faith is easy to maintain because it’s never challenged. Certainly it’s easy to believe in Olam Haba (the World to Come) when there's nothing to contradict you. But when the evidence of your eyes shows death, someone whom you knew warmly, who was active, is now stretched out lifeless, it’s difficult to believe that it’s not true.
This is only his overcoat that the person took off. He himself left his overcoat in the lobby and checked it in, and he went now into the banquet hall to enjoy the happiness that is prepared for him. But it’s extremely difficult if you’ll keep your eyes on the overcoat.
We have no concept today what that means, "eating for kedusha (holiness)." When it says, "Tov haeitz l’maachol — The trees were good for eating" in Gan Eden, it meant it was good for Adam...
If he would have remained in Gan Eden he would have achieved by means of the fruits of Gan Eden the most perfect results which Hashem had hoped to have from him. The sweetness of the fruits and the beauty of the fruits all combined for the purpose of achieving the summit, the acme of daas Elokim (knowledge of Hashem). — Repenting in Happiness (#E-160)
From Supreme Services (#35) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
When Dovid Hamelech considered what Hashem did for him, he felt so humbled he was at a loss for words. He said, “mah ashiv l’Hashem kol tagmuali alei — What can I pay back for all that he bestowed upon me?” When we embark on this course of study to see what we have, it may be hard for us to feel gratitude for merely having life, being alive.
Let’s compare ourselves to those who don’t have. Do you know the majority of the world is not alive? The majority are either waiting for the chance to come in or have already had their chance. We’re a very tiny minority of mankind.
Imagine food would come in big tasteless pills. White, tasteless, colorless pills. And if you don’t take these pills, you'll have cramps. So you need to eat. However, Hashem made apples red, and he made them have a nice taste, and a nice aroma. That’s all chesed (kindness of) Hashem. It is functional, but there is pleasure just for the purpose of pleasure. And that’s what Hashem intended for mankind. — Foundation and Root (#228)
Q: Isn’t it enough to believe in Hashem? Is it necessary to believe that Judaism is the only way?
A: And the answer is, it is necessary. It’s very necessary because when we belong to the nation that received the Torah, then we are given opportunities that no one else has. You could ask the same question as follows: Isn’t it enough for a man to pull a wagon like a horse? Why should he attempt to sit in an office and do work?
There is nothing wrong in telling children or simple people that they should fear Hashem so that He will forgive their sins or that He will grant them good health and happiness, and spare them from troubles in This World and the next. But, that’s only the first step...
If they are people of intelligence, they will go higher to the real love of Hashem that is based on nothing except the basic fundamental attitude of love toward the Benefactor. — Ohr Avigdor Shaar Avodas Elokim
Current events with commentary by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Recently in the news:
Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., the black sheriff who fights crime in Milwaukee has been focused lately on what he calls “the myth of mass incarceration.”
Some social critics are pushing for reduced prison sentences and less punishment for drug offenses — even the mass release of convicts who are already behind bars. They are particularly focused on repealing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, which increased mandatory minimum penalties and helped disproportionately fill U.S. prisons with black men.
“When you live in the ghetto,” Clarke observed at a recent convention about crime, “and you’re that single mom, and you’re working your tail off to keep your kid on the straight and narrow … You know you have to send your kid out into that street, and who is the first person he’s going to run into? The dope man. You find relief that we keep these individuals locked up.”