From Rejoice, O Youth by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
The ear, alone, is a complex of coordinated factors which makes any explanation by “sudden mutation” (evolution) ridiculous. Perched strategically atop the head on both sides, with whorls and hollows to collect the sound waves, they channel the sound to the ear drum.
This membrane, but one tenth of a millimeter in thickness, is composed of three layers. It is especially constructed so that it has no after-vibrations to blur the sound. An ingenious system of bone levers, connected to the ear drum, magnifies the sound. These tiny levers: the malleus, the incus and the stapes are each cunningly and efficiently shaped for their varied functions. They transmit the sound impulses to the lymph in the internal ear, which then arouses nerve impulses in the 20 to 30 thousand hair cells of the hearing nerve.
We came into this world for a short time. We’re here for a purpose and the purpose is to make out of ourselves very best that we are able. In order to do that, Hashem is going to send to each one of us a whole list of opportunities, and each opportunity is going to give us a different kind of perfection.
If we’ll make use of each opportunity in its way, when it comes, and we’ll be successful in all of them, then we shall have lived successfully. We’re ready now for the great reward forever. — Living with Others (#R-4)
From The Home, Fountain of Torah (#967) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
I remember once reading in a sefer (book) from about 300 years ago, a talmid chacham (Torah scholar) described what his mother once told him. He said he cannot forget his mother: she stood before him. “If I were a man,” she said to her son, “I would not stop learning Torah day and night!” She said it with such a fire, the fire went into his blood. That’s inscribed in the old sefer.
In the olden days it was a fire of Torah in the hearts of the mothers, and the fathers surely. And the farther back you go, it’s true more and more. In the midbar (desert) they were just fresh from Matan (the Giving of the) Torah. The flames that they saw on Matan Torah were still burning in the homes of each tent.
When Bilaam lifted up his eyes and he saw Yisrael and their tents, he said “Mah tovu — How beautiful are those tents.” And he went on to describe them.
From these tents will come forth rivers of pure water, of inspiration and idealism
“K’nechalim nitayu, k’gan al tzadei nahar — like streams that are flowing, like gardens by the river." It means from these tents will come forth rivers of pure water, of inspiration and idealism in all the generations. When the fathers and mothers inspire their children like they were doing then in the midbar in these tents, there will be an eternal river of greatness, of nobility, that will flow in all the generations. Who knows how much even today we’re indebted to the spirit that they implanted in their children in those days.
“Karazim alei mayim — It’s like the cedar trees.” Not only did they teach them Torah, but they taught them beautiful middos (character traits), the fragrance of good character and good qualities and proper behavior. Kaholim, like the aloe trees, k’arazim, like cedar trees. Ever pass a cedar forest and breathe in the fragrance of the pine forest? The Am Yisrael at the time was beautiful in knowledge of Torah and also in middos tovos, in character. He said “yizal mayim midalav, v’zaro k’mayim rabim — your water is going to flow from the spring and his posterity, his seed, will continue like great waters,” it will flow from these tents.
If a person has access to our great Torah treasury, it’s possible to learn the ways of the truthfulness of Hashem in this world. He becomes illuminated, and his mind becomes “umaltem es orlas livavchem — you ‘circumcise your heart.’” That means the heart becomes understanding; it opens up. Otherwise the mind is closed and most people walk in this darkness all their lives. Therefore they fail to achieve success. — Contending with the Yetzer Hara (#788)
From Ohr Avigdor Shaar Bitachon by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
After a person has chosen to proceed in a certain way, it is very appropriate to ask Hashem for help in carrying out his decision. When we pray to Hashem that He should cause us to do teshuvah or to have yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven), we are asking that the conditions be favorable for us to follow through on these choices.
First of all, we pray that we will have contact with good people who can influence us. Also, we hope to be in a place where learning materials are available and we ask Hashem to provide us with teachers to help us who know what’s right and wrong. Added to that is our need for good health so that we will be strong enough to carry out the good things we have chosen. We also have a need for information, such the halachah in the issue we are faced with.
You say every day “V’oneh l’Amo Yisrael b’eis shavam eilav — He answers his people Yisrael at the time that they cry out to Him.”
It doesn’t say merely He hastens to their succor, He is at hand to help them. It doesn’t say that. It says v’oneh, He is ready to answer them. When? B’eis shavam eilav, at the time that they cry out. Shavam means a great outcry. So we see it’s not sufficient merely to mumble a little prayer. It’s important to make a big outcry to Hashem. — The Wine of Prayer (#555)
From Fortunate Nation by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
"And you shall remember Hashem your G- d, for it is he that gives you strength to acquire wealth in order that he establish his covenant that he swore to your fathers" (Devarim 8:18).
There are two ways to remember Hashem and to become more righteous: (1) because of adversity and suffering, (2) or because of prosperity and happiness.
To remember Hashem because of prosperity is the best way, (1) because Hashem prefers to bestow happiness rather than to send misfortune (“For He desires Kindliness” Micha 7:18); (2) because the emotion of gratitude engenders love of Hashem and eagerness to conform to His will, which is preferable to conformance which results from adversity.
“V’haElokim nisah es Avraham — Elokim tested Avraham” (Beraishis 22:1).
What does nisah mean? It comes from the word nes. Nes means something that’s high and elevated. Hashem gave Avraham opportunities to become great. When other people are faced with ordeals, they cringe, they back out and fail, and the greatness within them shrinks and disappears. But when Avraham faced his ordeals, they were to him a harp, and he brought out the greatness in himself. — Asking Hashem
From In the Way You Wish to Go (#499) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Q: Why are some prayers (like the verse, “Hashem tzva’ois”) repeated during services?
A: Repetition is one of the great forms of self-discipline. If you want to succeed in any ideal, it’s necessary to repeat that ideal to yourself many times.
Yetzias Mitzrayim (the exodus from Egypt) is reiterated many times in the tefilla (prayer) because of its importance; we have to remind ourselves about it always. Also, we have to remind ourselves always that “Hashem melech — Hashem is King”: He is the king, the Ruler of the world, and He conducts all the affairs of the universe with the greatest wisdom and kindliness. That’s an axiom of our existence in this world. Therefore it’s important at all times to remind ourselves that “Hashem melech.” It’s a pity that some people wait for Rosh Hashana to say that…
The chief difficulty in understanding the doctrine of Judaism is not in the nature of the subject, for when approached with a fresh mind the Torah captures the imagination and fires the zeal of thinkers, patriots, idealists, and righteous men. The difficulty in understanding the Torah lies in the fact that our generation has been nurtured and satiated by bias against the Torah. — A Divine Madness
From Career of Happiness by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
The Mishna (Avos 1:17) declares: “All my life I grew up among the Sages, and I found nothing better for the body than Silence.” We note that this is recommended as the best for the body, although it is unquestionably extremely beneficial for the Soul. Not only with in-laws or with others, but also even between husband and wife this practice is the cause of longer lives in this world.
The first and most important result of Repentance is the Healing from guilt of sin. Sin is the illness of the Soul. If this Healing is not achieved now, in this life, it requires the fearsome Healing of Gehinnom… Affliction is sent upon him to help in the healing of his Soul; but when he repents and he is forgiven, then the affliction is no longer needed. — Praise My Soul
Current Events with commentary by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Soup Kitchen Thrives Despite City Crackdown
In February, S____ began a twice-monthly outdoor soup kitchen for her poor neighbors in W____. However, in October, city officials told volunteers they were on private property and had broken the law by violating city codes by serving meals dinner in the city parking lot.
Volunteers moved tables onto a nearby vacant lot and S____ got a short-term permit from to keep operations going. To keep the soup kitchen running, they moved their kitchen to a nearby homeless support agency.
Another Crackdown on Sharing Food with the Homeless
"Do caring citizens get tickets in S_____?" asked chef J______ last week.
"Yes," replied the police officer to whom J______ had directed the question, as he handed J______ a $2,000 ticket. J______’s alleged offense? Distributing hot meals to the homeless and disadvantaged "without a permit."
The food J______ serves every Sunday afternoon, part of charitable work she's been involved with for close to ten years, was prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen and distributed from a licensed food truck. But with no special permit for giving food away, J______ faces a steep fine from city hall.
This preachment that Hashem has “rejected” Israel is a fundamental doctrine of our imitators, and they look on with pious glee on all that has befallen us. But we know that all is solely done for our benefit... “All Israel has a share in the World to Come” (Sanhedrin 90A), and they are being purified in this world as a preparation for their destiny in the True World. — Fortunate Nation
From Gifts From Hashem by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger based on the teachings of Rabbi Avigdor Miller
How does a mosquito collect its food from humans and animals (preferably animals)? A mosquito can hover in midair, move vertically, and even fly backward in search of potential prospects. It then utilizes its proboscis (flexible, projecting nose) to drill beneath the surface of the skin in search of a supply of blood. Its proboscis consists of six different shafts: four are cutting and piercing tools; the fifth transports blood from the host to the mosquito; the sixth transports saliva.
The mosquito was perfectly designed by Hashem to drill and pump its food supply in order to survive. Humans, in turn, are served by mosquitos, for they provide a plentiful source of protein (14,000 mosquitos per acre) for birds, fish, and other insects.
“And He rebukes kings for their sake...” (Pesukei D’Zimra/Hodu)
Not only did Hashem prevent the evil-doers [such as Pharaoh and Avimelech from harming Yisrael], but He demonstrated His love for the Fathers by prophecies of rebuke for their sake… By rebuking the kings, the matter became famous; and the nations learned the greatness of the Fathers. But in reality this was done for the future nation. — Praise, My Soul
From Test of Emunah (#557) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
When you come in the morning on the way to the beis haknesses (synagogue) to pray, and you see a smashed up car leaning against a lamppost, you know that last night somebody was carted off to the hospital, maybe to the morgue. It wasn’t a miracle, he transgressed the laws of nature and therefore he was punished on the spot. Most people receive on-the-spot punishment for transgressing the laws of nature.
Now the question arises: what did Hashem intend by this system? When people transgress the laws of Hashem, the laws of the Torah, the laws of righteousness, the punishment doesn’t come immediately. In most cases, people don’t even realize that they ever are punished. Whenever it does come, they don’t know why they’re being punished; they think it’s for nothing. But when it comes to the laws of nature, which also come from the Creator, they’re punished immediately. Why did Hashem make such a system?
A Jew should always be ready to recognise the hand of Hashem in all of our circumstances. Wherever Jews live, wherever Jews have an opportunity to function, they have to realise Hashem is [allowing] that despite all their enemies, despite the adverse circumstances. — I Set You Apart (#546)
From Learning to Love Hashem (#675) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
I remember in Slabodka an important person, Reb Dovid Rappaport. He was always talking in learning, always talking in learning, and when he walked in the street he was talking in learning. So when he bumped into a telegraph pole, he said, “anschuldig — excuse me,” and kept on talking in learning. He thought he bumped into a person. He was so immersed in learning he didn’t know where he was going.
The Rambam describes a person like as “intoxicated”: he’s drunk. It’s a happiness. It’s such a happiness that Shlomo Hamelech at the beginning of Shir Hashirim said, “yishakeini m’nishikos pihu — Hashem should kiss me with the kisses of His mouth” once more like He kissed me before.
The Malbim explains that Hashem spoke to Shlomo Hamelech two times; It made him so intoxicated with happiness he could never forget it. All his life he yearned — ah, once more the Ribono Shel Olam yishakeini m’nishikus, kiss me, kiss me in the mouth, “ki tovim dodecha m’yayin — because Your love is better than wine.”
The nations of the world are not chastised as much as Israel, and the Torah does not spend time chastising them; but eventually they are entirely destroyed. Israel is eternal, because Hashem constantly corrects them. This is the key to explain the true reason for all the bitter castigations and severe retribution that were showered upon this [desert] generation. — Fortunate Nation
From Adam’s Ordeal (#28)
Q: How can one keep the idealistic teenage years always a part of him?
A: It depends what he was in those years. For a great many people, it pays to forget about their teenage years as fast as possible. But even if you had teenage years like Reb Yisrael Salanter, you have to know, the way to keep those years with you is to be true to yourself.
When a man lives in This World in expectation [of the World to Come], everything is happy.
A man has a nagging wife, but he's able to take it because of Olam Haba (the World to Come). (A wife can bring him to Olam Haba quickly. She shouldn’t have that purpose in mind, however; she should try to give him Olam Hazeh [This World].) When people live for the next world, for them this life is one endless happiness. — Foundation and Root (#228)
.From Sinning Against Yourself (#661) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
The gemara explains how important it is to pray with kavana: “eilu devarim she’adam ochel peiroseihem ba’olam hazeh” (Peah 1:1), for the following things a person is rewarded even in This World. Not the principle; “hakeren kayemes la’olam habah — the main reward is in the World to Come,” but the peiros, like interest on the principle, is given even in This World for certain things, such as doing kindly things to people, doing acts of kindnesses. Also among them it says, “v’iyun tefila”: “looking into” the davening. This means praying with thought.
The gemara asks a question. If a man is rewarded with peiros ba’olom hazeh (the reward in This World) only for gemilas chasadim, for acts of kindliness, so how does iyun tefila turn into kindliness? Where is the kindliness in praying with kavana?
“For they (the wife and the children) depend on him, and he depends on the One Who spoke and caused the world to be" (Hullin 84).
Just as a man is dependent on the Creator to manage his affairs, so should a man consider himself responsible for the happiness and success of his wife and children, as if his house were the Universe and he (so to speak) were the Creator. That is the immense opportunity for achievement which a home offers, and that is the enormous responsibility which rests on the parent to make his home successful. — Awake, My Glory
From Improving the World (#792) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Envy is for all good people to have. When you see people doing good things, you should be envious of them. Not that you should sit by while somebody else learning Torah and it should burn in you. (…)
Envy is a wonderful middah (trait) if it’s used for good things. If somebody is accomplishing — I want to accomplish! Therefore we have to activate the quality of envy. When you see people who are doing good things, you should ask why shouldn’t I do the same thing? Here’s a man who davens a long Shemoneh Esrei; why shouldn’t I do it? (...)