The mission of man in this world is to pursue the closeness to Hashem. The learning of Torah is for the purpose of coming closer. (Everybody is included; the ladies and the girls should feel that I am speaking directly to them even though they are not going to study gemara.)... But whatever it is, it’s the coming closer that I want to emphasize, not merely the words of studying Torah. — Adam's Ordeal (#28)
Realize what a great miracle teshuva is: To undo the past, to wipe out what happened before, is something we cannot understand. It is a miracle that teshuva helps, and for this miracle we’re expected to be grateful to Hashem. — Gift of Teshuva (#608)
Picking up a newspaper means you’re putting darkness into your mind. People standing in line at the movies are paying money to have their minds ruined. Because once you get foolishness into your mind, you can never get it out. Even when you do teshuva (repentance), the foolishness remains in your head. Teshuva covers up the foolishness with layers of chachma (wisdom). But the foolishness is still there. — Five Minutes a Day
Rabbenu Yona says in the beginning of Shaarei Teshuva, that sin is a stain on the neshama . While we are alive it’s easy to remove the stain: You do teshuva and the stain is removed. If a person who does not teshuva, he dies with a stain and goes to Gehinnom. They put detergents on him to get the stain out. And the detergents hurt... oooohhh do they hurt! They burn! So the neshama is somewhat scarred from its experience in Gehinom. Therefore we shouldn’t wait until Gehinom in order to get rid of the stain. Do teshuva while you’re still alive. — Adam's Ordeal (#28)
Teshuva (repentance) means to come back to the greatness which is expected of us, even if you did not do any sins at all. Did you learn enough Torah? Did you love Hashem enough? Did you think about His greatness enough? Did you do kindness to your fellow man enough? So many things to do! Teshuva means to come back to perfection, not merely to stop doing sins. — Asking for Life (Erev Yom Kippur) (#803)
On Rosh Hashana we don’t enumerate this sin and that sin. There’s one big sin, there’s one overall failure of mankind that they have to correct on Rosh Hashana. And that’s the failure to recognize Hashem melech: Hashem is King. — The Shofar of Rosh Hashana (#609)
From Preparing for the Yom Hadin (#978) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Q: Should I go into Rosh Hashanah with simcha (happiness) because it is yom tov or with trepidation because it’s the yom hadin (Day of Judgment)?
A: You have to do both. “Gilu bi’rada — [you have to] tremble and rejoice.” It’s a yom tov, no question about it. But on Rosh Hashanah, the Gemara says the more he is afraid on Rosh Hashanah the better off he is.
You possess the opportunity to become truly great. It is in your reach to become a convinced and inspired and happy Jew. — Awake, My Glory
Current events with commentary by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Recently in the news:
For the first time at O______ University, students are able to choose housing, roommates and bathrooms without gender in mind thanks to the newest dorm on campus.
The new $100 million H_____ Hall on O______ 's campus, is now home to more than 1,000 students. It features a new style of housing and has become O______ 's first all gender-inclusive building. Students were given the opportunity to choose roommates without gender restrictions, or they could stick with the basic same-sex assignment restrictions. H_____, also features bathrooms and showers that are gender-inclusive, but there are options for men's and women's rooms as well.
"The complex has a progressive, forward thinking design that speaks to who we are as a university," said T ______, Vice President of Student Life.
An aspect of the sweetness of singing to Hashem is the achieving of the Awareness of Him. This Awareness of His wisdom and of His kindliness and power is a true and enduring pleasure, and it also prepares us for the infinite happiness of the Afterlife. The endless joy of the World to Come is reserved for those who utilised their earthly life to acquire the true knowledge of G-d. — Awake, My Glory
Even if the television would show you nothing but decent gentiles, who would lecture only on subjects of health or of politics (nothing that would affect your morals), the mere fact of voluntary contact with the umos ha’olam (nations of the world), beyond what's necessary for your livelihood already deprives you of the right to have the Shechina (Divine Presence) dwell on your home. — I Have Set You Apart (#546)
From When We Were Young (#432) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
When something is planted in our mind when we are young, it makes a very great difference. Don’t say that we will learn it some day later. Certainly it is better late than never; even at the end of our days. But, learning in our youth makes a very great difference.
When we learn young… what is it like? “It’s like writing with ink on fresh paper” (Avos). Ink on new paper takes and is more lasting. When we learn when we are an old man, it is like writing with ink on erased, worn out paper. It enters not only the paper. but it enters our neshama (soul). When the ink of Torah is inscribed on the tablet of our heart, we are changed from the inside out. A tremendous difference.
Wisdom doesn’t just mean knowing things; it means being Aware of the presence of Hashem in the world. As David Hamelech says, "Reishis Chachma yiras Hashem — The highest of wisdom is the fear of Hashem" (Tehilim 111:10). This doesn’t mean we have to be in a state of fear. It means that we have to be Aware that the presence of Hashem is everywhere. That realization is the pinnacle of wisdom. -- Ohr Avigdor Hakdama
From Ten Aspects of Shabbas (#791) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
A man stopped me on the street today; he said, “Isn’t it hot to wear such a long coat today?” I said, “Look at the beautiful blue sky. Isn’t it a wonderful day? Look at the bright sunshine!” He was smiling and shook my hand he thanked me.
We have to teach ourselves the happiness of life. Life is happy! Hashem wants us to enjoy this great gift of Olam Hazeh (This World). Know that Hashem is all kindliness. “Olam chessed yibaneh — The world was built for kindliness.” That’s bitachon (trust in Hashem’s kindness). He’s a kindly father. Instead of complaining, instead of ignoring all the blessings, let’s utilize shabbas to sing about the work of Hashem’s hands: Summer and winter, spring and fall. Always let’s be happy in Hashem’s phenomena each one is a separate course in that great banquet that he serves us in this life.
From Show Me Your Glory (Gifts of Emunah) (#E-176) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
When Hashem split the Yam Suf, we surely saw the yad (hand of) Hashem and “vayaaminu b’Hashem u’b’Moshe avdo — and they believed in Hashem and in Moshe His servant” — a tremendous achievement, more than before. Halevei we should come to the first madreiga (level) that they attained when Moshe first came and showed them [signs]. Now they arrived at a much higher madreiga (level): emunah chushis (sensory knowledge), actually seeing with their eyes. A tremendous gift of daas (knowledge of) Hashem! That was the result of Kriyas (the splitting of the) Yam Suf. We never forgot it.
“V’shimcha norah al kol mah she’barasa — Your name is feared by everything You created” (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur prayers).
That’s a very important lesson. Not only on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but all year round we have to strive to gain fear and awareness of Hashem, to feel that He’s right there, looking at us, hearing our words, listening to our tefilos [prayers]. — Asking Hashem
From Show Me Your Glory (Gifts of Emunah) (#E-176) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Food is given for the purpose to gain yiras (fear of) Hashem. It’s not only that the food is a miraculous thing. What happens to the food is nissei nissim (miracles upon miracles). The food is broken up into thousands of different materials. You know how that happens? Nissei nissim! And these thousands of materials go into the blood together in a mixture and one doesn’t spoil the other.
Imagine thousands of materials now are traveling in the bloodstream to the intestines. The intestines are lined with cells that suck in certain materials. Only certain materials. The cells have such cunning arrangements that they only admit certain materials. One author said it’s because the entrance to the cell, the cell mouth, is so shaped that only configurations of that shape are able to enter. It’s tremendous.
On Rosh Hashanah you have to do Teshuva (repentance). What's the greatest Teshuva? There's one big sin of mankind that they have to fix on Rosh Hashana, and that's the failure to recognize "Hashem melech" (Hashem is King). There's nothing in the world. It's all a deception. Hashem is the only entity that exists in the world. — Shofar of Rosh Hashanah (#609)
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.
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
A gardener sees weeds as a nuisance, but in truth all weeds are valuable. In times past, people were aware of uses for certain weeds and today we are rediscovering them...
Everywhere in the world there is wisdom, even though we don’t see it or understand it. Who are we to understand the wisdom of Hashem? Nevertheless, as time goes by, we discover the wisdom in the world around us. — Ohr Avigdor Shaar Bechinah
You see miracles upon miracles without end, and there’s planning in those miracles. I am 65 percent water, and so are you. 65 percent water! Can water walk? Can water talk?
We see Hashem on all sides. Hashem is invisible, but He’s more visible than anything else, because you see the miracles of plan and purpose everywhere.. — Gift of Teshuva (#608)"
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. — Awake, My Glory
As you eat the orange, notice its seeds, which have no color. Coloring the seeds would have been a waste since there is no need to make them attractive to us. You spit them out and once they fall on the ground they know what to do.
These thoughts about the orange are but an indication of the elaborate planning and design underlying the whole world. — Ohr Avigdor Hakdama
From The Afterlife (#R-35) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
In economics there’s a concept of “present goods” and “future goods.” Present goods is a lollipop; you have it right away. Future goods is when you put money into the bank or you buy bonds; it doesn’t mean anything right now.
They say that the difference in the quality of the two kinds of investors is a different intelligence. People with lower intellect go for present goods. The intelligentsia go for future goods. It doesn’t mean intelligentsia doesn’t want present goods. But they understand future goods. They have patience.
The Al-mighty says to us, be patient my children. I made you that you should have joy in this world. But in the case of some pleasures I must deny them to you because they’re going to prevent you from having bigger pleasures. So the Mesilas Yesharim says “haadam lo nivra elah l’hisaneg al Hashem — We’re here to have pleasure from Hashem.” Why pleasure from Hashem? Because that’s the greatest of all pleasures! But then he adds, we are created in order to enjoy the happiness of the afterlife. That’s our purpose.
Today we don’t need miracles; the knowledge that’s been discovered by scientists is so astoundingly, overwhelmingly astonishing. The smallest processes of nature testify to the greatest intelligence of the Infinite Designer. They are all made in order for us to be aware of the greatness of Hashem, a very important principle. — Asking Hashem