Q&A With Rav Avigdor Miller

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  • #1313185

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on McDonalds, Davening, Jewish History, CPR, Comets and Chinese Auctions

    Q:
    Is there anything wrong with patronizing a kosher branch of a fast-food store that is modeled after a goyishe franchise? Let’s say there’s a glatt kosher McDonalds, can I go in there to eat?
    A:
    Go someplace else. The name already smells bad.
    TAPE 613

    Q:
    Is the davening I do in שמונה עשרה enough, or do I have to talk to Hashem besides that, at the end of the שמונה עשרה?
    A:
    Now רבותי, that’s a very important question. I must tell you that all the things, the specific things, that you want Hashem to do for you, you should say it then. Don’t rely on שמונה עשרה, because שמונה עשרה itself is too general – [at this point the tape ends וחבל על דאבדן]
    TAPE # E-199

    Q:
    Is the ספר הישר reliable for learning Jewish history?
    A:
    Now, you really shouldn’t ask me that question because I don’t want to say anything about ספרים. However, you’ll find better history in other ספרים. Better than the ספר הישר. Better history. It’s a form of מדרש but it’s not guaranteed to be on the same level as the מדרש רבה and other מדרשים.
    TAPE # E-162

    Q:
    Is it important to learn CPR, in order to know how to revive somebody?
    A:
    It’s important to do whatever you can, so that you can learn what to do in case of emergencies. It’s a mitzvah.
    TAPE # 489

    Q:
    I read recently that some astronomers have informed us that in the year 2126 a comet of ice will collide with the earth and destroy the world? What should our attitude be when we hear news like that?
    A:
    We should say, “Ah nechtiger tog.” It’s an absurdity! We shouldn’t even bother repeating such foolishness. It’s a waste of time.
    TAPE # 901

    Q:
    The Rav said that we have to be more involved with spiritual matters and try to avoid luxuries. But what are we supposed to do when we go to tzedaka auctions and things like that, where they’re giving away these types of luxurious items?
    A:
    If you want to be an עולם הבא person and you don’t want to live a luxurious life, then take the item that you win and give it back to the Yeshiva. There’s no rule that you have to accept all the luxuries and use them. You paid for it, you won, and now you can donate it back again. The tzedaka organization can use it to make more money. Give it back – I don’t see the problem.
    TAPE # 815

    #1313379

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Go someplace else. The name already smells bad.

    And, at the end of the day, he didn’t say it’s forbidden.

    Now רבותי, that’s a very important question. I must tell you that all the things, the specific things, that you want Hashem to do for you, you should say it then. Don’t rely on שמונה עשרה, because שמונה עשרה itself is too general

    I sometimes find it very difficult to justify asking for anything when my very existence is the result of not following the mitzvos and that, because of this, I am a completely wicked person with no opportunity to actually go back and correct matters.

    Now, you really shouldn’t ask me that question because I don’t want to say anything about ספרים. However, you’ll find better history in other ספרים. Better than the ספר הישר. Better history. It’s a form of מדרש but it’s not guaranteed to be on the same level as the מדרש רבה and other מדרשים.

    I would be highly skeptical of anyone who supposed that מדרש רבה was a history text.

    We should say, “Ah nechtiger tog.” It’s an absurdity! We shouldn’t even bother repeating such foolishness. It’s a waste of time.

    I highly doubt any astronomers made any such statements with certainty.

    It is true that Swift-Tuttle will pass close to the earth on Aug 14, 2126. However, no reputable scientist would have stated that a collision was a certainly, but that there was merely a chance of it happening. And, as it turns out, further observations since then have ruled out a collision.

    There’s no rule that you have to accept all the luxuries and use them.

    Guilty as charged. I won a Megillas Esther at an auction one year and I kept it. Yes, I use it to read to homebound people every year, but perhaps I should have given it back after all. 🙁

    The Wolf

    #1313390

    yytz
    Participant

    Interesting. I’m glad to see this (I saw something else by R’ Miller that said men only pray in Hebrew.)

    The Chofetz Chaim greatly emphasized the importance of speaking to Hashem in one’s own words every day at length (he even said in Biur Halacha that a Torah scholar should spend an entire day doing so once a week). See the quote about daily prayer in one’s own words here:

    “In summation, all the many calamities that come on us and that we are not saved from them is because we are not screaming and outpouring in prayer over them. If we would pray and would pour out before HaKadosh Baruch Hu, certainly our prayers and supplications would not return empty. And it’s not enough for a person to pray the shemonei esrei three times a day, rather a few times per day, a person needs to pour out prayers and supplications in solitude, in his house, from the depths of his heart. Because the three prayers (shemonei esrei) are already fixed in his mouth and he doesn’t take them to heart so much. But if a person would contemplate in solitude and make a cheshbon hanefesh on his personal situation, his great poverty and his many toils, and for all this to live on crusty bread and water, then he will pour out his heart like water in front of Hashem, yisborach, and the prayer will go out with deep kavana and with a broken heart and a lowly spirit. A prayer like this will certainly not return empty. And then when his soul is bitter on him, on his situation and his weak standing, and he drops supplications before HaKadosh Baruch Hu, he should also remember the great pain of Hashem yisborach, because he also, so to speak, does not have rest. In all our suffering He suffers…” (Chafetz Chaim – Likutei Amarim ch.11)

    #1313380

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    What is the problem with looking at the face of a wicked person? [ אסור לאדם להסתכל בצלם דמות אדם רשע – “It is forbidden for one to gaze at the face (image) of a wicked person” (Megillah 28a). ]

    A:
    If you look at the face of a רשע, you become a רשע. And I’ll tell you why. We are influenced by people. And the face of רשע is a screen. It’s a projector. And his נשמה projects its image on that screen. So his רשעות is on his face.

    You might not recognize it, you might not see it, but the רשעות is on his face. And when you look at his face, it becomes stamped on your נשמה. What you see is stamped on your נשמה.

    That’s very important. What you see will affect you. Don’t be מסתכל בפני רשע. Don’t look at the face of wicked people. And don’t look at people doing wrong things. As much as possible, avoid getting the stamp of wrong things on your נשמה.

    And I want to tell you something else – another reason. Hashem doesn’t like the רשעים. A רשע is busy frustrating his own purpose in life and is busy ruining others as well. And Hashem is disgusted with that. Now, when someone feels disgust with somebody else, if you’re really disgusted by someone, then you don’t even want to look at that person. And Hashem doesn’t want to look at the רשעים. And if you walk in the ways of Hashem, you will also be disgusted by the רשע and his behavior. You don’t even want to see him. You don’t want to look at his face. And that’s why we don’t look at the face of a רשע. We are training ourselves to be disgusted with those who disgust Hashem.

    TAPE # E-220

    #1313548

    Joseph
    Participant

    “my very existence is the result of not following the mitzvos and that, because of this, I am a completely wicked person with no opportunity to actually go back and correct matters.”

    You’re certainly no worse than a mamzer, who is not blamed for his status and is surely not considered a rasha. Indeed, he can be the biggest Talmid Chochom and receive the greatest reward in Olam Haboa.

    “I highly doubt any astronomers made any such statements”

    Brian Marsden at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 1973 made such statements.

    “And, as it turns out, further observations since then have ruled out a collision.”

    Ah, so Rav Miller was correct even by the scientists own later admissions.

    #1313682

    yytz
    Participant

    “I sometimes find it very difficult to justify asking for anything when my very existence is the result of not following the mitzvos and that, because of this, I am a completely wicked person with no opportunity to actually go back and correct matters.”

    I don’t understand. Your father was a non-Jew, or your parents didn’t observe Taharas haMishpacha? Why would you think such things make you a wicked person? Every person has the potential to overcome their yetzer hara and become close to Hashem. After all, each person is judged according to their deeds (Tehillim), and according to the effort is the reward (Pirkei Avos).

    “God takes pride even in the most insignificant Jew, even in the sinners of Israel, so long as they go by the name Jew. There is a special pride which God takes in each individual Jew. One should therefore never despair of God’s help regardless of any wrong one may have done. God’s love for him will never cease, and he can still return to God. T he main thing is to be attached to the Tzaddik and his followers, because they possess the ability to uncover the goodness and glory which is present even in the worst people and return everything to God” (Likutei Eitzos).

    “When you consider the utter greatness of God and His unfathomable exaltedness, the merest movement, the merest glance of ours which is slightly out of place in relation to the glory of God, should make us liable to whatever we should be liable to, God forbid. But He is filled with love and the whole world is filled with His kindness. God desires this world very greatly. So my beloved friend and brother, my very soul and heart, take courage and trust in God. He will not abandon you. Whatever you experience is all for your good. Rely upon God’s abundant love, which is absolutely without end. There is no limit to the greatness of God. Somehow everything will be transformed to good. Even the intentional sins will be transformed into merits. Only remain firm” (Ibid)

    “Prayer helps for everything. Even if a person is unable to study Torah he will be able to do so if he prays for it. Everything good can be attained through prayer: Torah, devotion, holiness… everything good in all the worlds. Amen” (Ibid.)

    #1313692

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Brian Marsden at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 1973 made such statements.

    He said it as a certainty? If so, I’d like to see a citation of that, please.

    The Wolf

    #1313695

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Why would you think such things make you a wicked person?

    Because the Chofetz Chaim explicitly stated so. Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar, Mitzvas Lo Sa’aseh 132.

    The Wolf

    #1313688

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    You’re certainly no worse than a mamzer, who is not blamed for his status and is surely not considered a rasha.

    The Chofetz Chaim disagrees with you. He clearly states that I am wicked.

    And, of course, the sword is double-edged. If I agree with him, I’m a rasha by his statement. If I disagree, then I’m a rasha for daring to disagree with the Chofetz Chaim.

    The Wolf

    #1313840

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    He said it as a certainty? If so, I’d like to see a citation of that, please.

    Never mind, I found it.

    He said it *could* collide with the earth. And, a few months later, as he took better measurements, he corrected himself. Correcting yourself when you’ve made a mistake or have better data is good science.

    The Wolf

    #1313855

    Joseph
    Participant

    Wolf: Brian Marsden’s claim was widely reported at the time and citations to it can be easily found. Additionally, that wasn’t his only retraction. While it took him about two decades to retract his 2026 claim regarding Swift-Tuttle, in 1998 he made another similar claim that the he was forced to admit was wrong hours after he issued his attention-seeking press release.

    #1313856

    yytz
    Participant

    Wolfish: Yes, it appears the Chofetz Chaim is saying the children born from unions in which taharas hamishpacha were not observed will be wicked, but 1) we don’t know if we understand his words — perhaps he did not mean always, 2) he may well have been exaggerating for emphasis, to underscore the importance of this mitzvah?

    If this were literally true that the Ba’al Teshuvah movement would be a contradiction in terms — since they’re all inherently wicked because of the circumstances of their conception what’s the point of them trying? We have to rely on the authority of the greatest tzaddikim and Torah leaders of our time, and they are all 100% in favor of people becoming BTs.

    You can’t use your own personal interpretation in one line of the Chofetz Chaim’s voluminous works to cast away the unanimous authority of all rabbis of the last generation or two that all Jews should become Orthodox and engage in Torah and mitzvos to the best of their ability.

    #1313894

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    I think most of us have learned that we cannot take literally all the words of chazal and more modern-day gadolim and meforshim since most commentary and psaks have a contextual element not always apparent from the quote or attribution. Generally, most are not blanket edicts or unqualified but the conditionality is often implicit rather than explicit or inferred from the facts of the question or the identify of the questioner.

    #1315074

    Joseph
    Participant

    Finding Life on Mars

    Q-
    Why does the Rav keep saying that there is no life on other planets? Just because life follows a certain pattern here, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a different form of life on some other planet.

    A-
    Life, you have to know, must have ingredients that make life possible. Do you know what life is? Life is the ability to take things from the outside and to assimilate them into your body in order to replenish the worn out cells. The taking in of these outside ingredients to rejuvenate the body. And to provide you the energy needed for life. You have to have something – something to provide for life! And therefore, whatever it is, let’s say you want a different life form on some planet somewhere. Ok, let’s say you want people with wings. You still have to eat. Your still have to breathe. It can’t be otherwise. Look, just because you want to imagine that there are beings that don’t have to breathe and don’t have to eat – look, ha’motzee mei’chaveiro a’lav ha’raiyah. You’ll have to prove such a thing. It’s a meshugas! So you have to prove that meshugas. Otherwise, we know that life is a certain thing. It’s a certain system. A certain process. Life needs nourishment. Life needs air. Life needs water. Without air and water and without food, you can’t have any life.

    Oh, so you’re telling me that maybe there’s life that doesn’t need any food and air. It doesn’t need water. (The Rav laughed) A meshugas! All kinds of crazy ideas. Think up as many crazy ideas as you want – but I’m not michuyav to worry about the crazy ideas. Ha’motzee mei’chaveiro a’lav ha’raiyah. You have to prove it. That’s all.

    TAPE # E-265

    #1315083

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    Someone told me that if I was saved from a perilous situation, my merits are used up. Is that true?

    A:
    Now, if a man puts himself in danger, if he risks his life, and he happens to be saved, he should know that the Gemara says that he has used up many of his mitzvos. It doesn’t pay. It’s a lot of tefillin. A lot of שמירת שבת. It definitely doesn’t pay to put yourself in dangerous situations. If you are a smoker and your lungs are healthy, you should know that it’s costing you a lot of tefillin.

    But, if somebody was in danger not because of his own fault, and הקדוש ברוך הוא rescued him from that danger, then he’s not using up any of his merits – unless he fails to appreciate it. When Hashem does something for us – not only saving us from danger – when He gives you health, He gives you the ability to use your eyes, the ability to walk, to function, and you don’t thank Him for each one of these gifts, then you’re using up all your mitzvos. You have to do something in return. So Hashem says, “Either you thank Me for your eyes, or I’ll take something from you in return.” One of your merits is subtracted from you.

    You have to thank Hashem for the fact that you can walk. ברוך אתה ה׳ המכין מצעדי גבר. He establishes a man’s footsteps. You have to make that blessing every day, but that’s not enough. You have to think about what you’re saying. And you have to think about it all day long. When a man walks in the street and he sees people sitting in wheelchairs who cannot walk, and he doesn’t appreciate the great benefit of walking, the great happiness of locomotion, then Hashem says, “You’re not paying me; I’ll collect from you.” Therefore, if a person thanks Hashem for what he’s getting, then he’s not going to be forced to pay in other ways. And that’s the very great importance of thanking – otherwise we’re in debt. Very deep debt.
    TAPE # 776

    #1315376

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    Wow J that last one was heavy.

    WOLF– i’m pretty sure many people don’t deserve stuff (including this guy). In fact, in a way nobody really deserves anything cuz the fact that were alive is itself is a huge chessed so we shouldnt feel like were owed anything. BUT, theres great gift called matnas chinam. Bh good stuff, it works. I once heard that in shamayim there are many otzros of goodness- and the otzar of matnas chinam is the largest.

    Look, if u had no chance then u wudnt still be here (that was a big breath of fresh air for me when i thought i was done, here i am talking about matnas chinam)

    #1315465

    Sam2
    Participant

    Why does he assume that there are no other planets with breathable air and such?

    #1315477

    Joseph
    Participant

    He said ha’motzee mei’chaveiro a’lav ha’raiyah. You have to prove it.

    Also, ein kemach, ein Torah; ein Torah, ein kemach. (My own add-on.)

    #1317936

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on Learning Mishlei

    Q:
    I would like to learn Mishlei from beginning to end for the first time in my life. Can you give me some advice about how to approach the learning of this sefer?

    A:
    When you learn Mishlei, the first step is to make up your mind that Mishlei knows what he’s talking about. He’s not just wasting his time. And even though the statements might sometimes seem פשוט, simple, make up your mind that there is nothing simple in Mishlei. That’s very important to understand. A wise man is talking to you – one of the wisest the world ever saw. And therefore, try to understand the profundity of his words.

    Sometimes you might need the מפרשים, the commentaries, to help you out. Whatever it is, you should make up your mind that Mishlei is a repository of the deepest wisdom for practical living.

    Although Mishlei is a sefer of יראת שמים, fear of Heaven, like it says in the beginning of the first פרק, you must understand that Mishlei is also a book of successful living. If you want to be happy in עולם הזה, in this world, then Mishlei is the guide to that. It tells you how to deal with people and how to deal with yourself in order to live successfully in this world. There are so many gems in Mishlei. Advice on how to guard your health, how to guard your property, your money, how to get along with everybody – your wife, your children, your neighbors, your enemies. And it’s a shame that so many people make the time to read everything else – newspapers, magazines and so much other garbage, but for Mishlei they don’t have time.

    Of course, the most important advice is how to get along with הקדוש ברוך הוא. But Mishlei is full of wise counsel that will help you live successfully in עולם הזה, in this world. And knowing all this, you are going to approach this sefer with a different attitude. And that should be your first step in learning the sefer of Mishlei.
    TAPE # 636

    #1318057

    Sam2
    Participant

    Joseph: No, he said HaMotzi MeiChaveiro on creatures that don’t need air and such existing.

    #1318250

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor on Vegetarianism

    Q:
    What is the Torah perspective of vegetarianism?

    A:
    Vegetarianism can be regarded like any other superfluous thing that a person adopts.The Torah doesn’t say anywhere that it’s forbidden to be a vegetarian. And the Torah doesn’t command you to be a vegetarian either. So, it’s like asking, “What is the Torah perspective of red-maple furniture?” You’ll ask me, “What is the attitude of the Torah towards red-maple furniture?” Use your own judgement when you have to buy your furniture.

    However, if someone believes that it’s wrong to eat meat – morally wrong – that’s something else altogether. It’s right to eat meat, and there’s no question about that. If someone is a vegetarian because of health reasons, or some ascetic reason, that’s OK. Nothing wrong with taking precautions with your health. But if he does it on principle – because it’s wrong to eat meat; he says it’s morally wrong – then he’s an אפיקורוס, he’s not a Jew. He cannot be a Jew and have a principled stance against the Torah. The Torah teaches that the earth has been given by Hashem to human beings, in general, and then to the Jewish people. And therefore, anyone who questions the right of mankind to use the flesh of animals, is questioning the authority of the Torah and the dignity and primacy of mankind.
    TAPE # R-43

    #1318556

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on How to Get Hashem to Think About You

    Q:
    How can we say ברוך אתה to Hashem? Doesn’t it show a lack of respect when we express that type of closeness to say “You” to Hashem?

    A:
    You have realize that הקדוש ברוך הוא is looking down from the skies – right now He’s looking down – to see if anybody is thinking about Him. And when you say “You” to Hashem, then immediately He is interested in you. When you say “You” and you’re thinking about what you’re saying, then you are making Hashem real and tangible in your mind. And that’s what Hashem wants from you.

    You say אתה – “You”! You’re speaking with Hashem and He’s listening to you. Absolutely He’s listening! אתה שומע – You are listening. Get that into your bones, into your blood. You have all this foolishness from the outside world trying to make הקדוש ברוך הוא disappear from the world. And you’re fighting against that foolishness by saying אתה – “You.” We’re the Jewish people, and we’re bringing Hashem into the world. The more you say Hashem’s name, the more you daven, the more you talk about Him, the more you’re bringing Him into this world.

    It’s a world of wickedness, of foolishness, today – more than ever before. And we need the Presence of Hashem in this world as much as possible. אתה ה׳ לא תכלא רחמיך ממני – “You Hashem will not hold back Your mercy from me.” It doesn’t say “Hashem.” It says “You Hashem.” That’s what Hashem wants. He wants you to feel Him in a tangible way. He wants you to say “You.” If you say “You” to Hashem, Hashem will say “you” to you.
    TAPE # E-236

    #1318916

    yytz
    Participant

    Thanks for this series, Joseph. I like his answer on vegetarianism. Here’s another one on vegetarianism (by the Sdei Chemed):

    From R. Chaim Chizkiyahu Medini, Sdei Chemed, Inyan Achilat Basar (translated by R. Dovid Sears – The Vision of Eden, Orot 2003):

    On the subject of eating meat nowadays, our master [R. Chaim Benveniste] in his Knesses HaGedolah (Yoreh De’ah 28) citing the Rashal, states that we may rely upon the Ri and the Ran, and eat meat for the sake of bodily nourishment, and not afflict ourselves at all. However, the Chida [R. Chaim Yosef David Azulai] in his Chaim Sha’al, 43:6, states: “It all depends upon the nature of the individual. If one can afflict oneself in order to atone for one’s sins-for ‘there is no person free from sin’-that is well and good.” As for ourselves, what can we say to this, in such an orphaned generation when the number of our sins is beyond calculation and our plight is almost unbearable, may God forgive us.

    This view is shared by [R. Raphael Pinchas Yehoshua DeSegura] in Os Hi L’Olam, 63c. Here we find support and justification from a well known sage, may the Merciful One protect and sustain him, who for many years abstained completely from eating meat. Heaven forefend that anyone disparage him; happy will be his lot. He abstained even from wine, except when performing a religious precept (e.g., Kiddush, Havdalah, or the Four Cups of the Passover Seder meal). It has been said that all of a person’s labor is for the sake of food; therefore, gluttony often leads to transgression. We have already cited the words of the Ari [R. Yitzchak Luria], “Happy is the person who is able to abstain from meat and wine all week long.” Also note [R. Yehudah Tiktin] in Ba’er Heitiv on Orach Chaim 134:1, sec. 3: “There is an accepted practice not to eat meat or drink wine on Monday and Thursday, since the Heavenly Court is then sitting in judgment… Happy is the person who is able to refrain from meat and wine the entire week.” Also see Yakhel Shlomo on Orach Chaim 529:2.

    It is true that [the Talmud states] that on the Sabbath one dines on meat and wine. However, that is a person’s right, not his obligation. Our sages taught, “One should eat on the Sabbath just as on a weekday [in order to avoid taking charity]” (Shabbos 118a). [Therefore, the consumption of meat cannot be construed as obligatory.] This is also the ruling of [Rabbi Moshe Isserles] in Darkei Moshe on Yoreh De’ah 341. In Reishis Chochmah [the classic introduction to the Kabbalah by R. Eliyahu de Vidas] (129b) there is a lengthy discussion that concludes that one should not consume the flesh of any living creature. And [R. Eliyahu HaKohen of Izmir] in Shevet Mussar, 192a, states that meat is only permitted to a perfectly righteous person. However, all this only pertains to the devout, and a common person is not actually forbidden to eat meat. Nevertheless, we have learned that it is correct to refrain from doing so if one is able to endure privation. Such an individual is considered mighty and holy. Also note Kerem Shlomo on Yoreh De’ah (chap. 1), which explains at length that there is no actual religious duty to consume meat and wine even on the Sabbath or Festivals.

    I have recently seen the Kabbalistic work Shiur Komah by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, and one of my students, who shall always remain dear to me, has shown me page 84c regarding the transmigration of the soul into the vital spirit of an animal. [There it states,] “Thus a conscientious person should avoid eating meat, as it is possible that the soul of a wicked person may cleave to him – sometimes hastening his death.” The editor adds: “In the light of this, one should never eat meat unless the divine mysteries have been revealed to him, and he knows that it does not contain the reincarnated soul of a transgressor. Similarly the Ari in Sha’ar HaMitzvos, in the Torah portion Eikev, cautions us not to eat much meat for this reason. He adds that certainly one must never consume the heart of any animal, beast, or bird, as therein dwells the life force”.

    #1319042

    yitzyk
    Participant

    Wow – more please!! I listened to many of his tapes and read some of his books, but not so recently. I always found the Q&A at the end of the tapes to be the best part, but they were often cut short by the tape ending.

    I attended his shiur a few times in person, just to be able to see his face and hear him live at least once while I still could. He was quite old by then, and I was young. I am glad I took that opportunity.

    I even asked a few questions myself. I still remember at least one of them, paraphrased here from vague memory. If you find it on tape slightly different than I remember, please don’t hold it against me.
    Q: What am I personally supposed to be doing to bring Moshiach? If he does not come, does that mean we failed?
    A: Rashi wrote a Peirush on Chumash and Gemara that is used by all of Klal Yisroel. Is there any doubt that Rashi has a very special place in Gan Eden, and that he was a great Tzaddik? Yet Moshiach did not come in his lifetime. Does that Ch”V mean that Rashi failed in his life’s work?
    We are not responsible to make sure that Moshiach comes. We just have to work on doing the Mitzvos we are commanded to do, in the best way that we can.

    #1319105

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    keep em coming J shkoyach

    #1319533

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    Is it OK for me to give up on some of my Torah learning in the evening, in order to work a little extra so that I can save up money for a trip to Eretz Yisroel?

    A:
    No! Absolutely not. The purpose of Eretz Yisroel is only for you to make something out of yourself. To give up learning to go to the Kosel Ma’aravi, the Western Wall? If you want to go to the Kosel Ma’aravi, then you should know that the Shas Bavli is your Kosel Ma’aravi. Make the seforim shrank with the Shas Bavli in it, your Kosel Ma’aravi. That’s your success.

    To go to Eretz Yisroel and to stand at a wall that means nothing to you?! It’s just a זכר of ימי קדם. It’s a remembrance of our glorious past. It’s something, but it’s a failure. The success of life is the transferring the contents of the Shas into your mind. So stand in front of that big Shas on the shelves and make that your Kosel Ma’aravi. Because that’s your success in life. If you want to, you can put kvitlach, prayer notes, in between the Gemoras and pray to Hashem. The Shas is our everything! There’s nothing in the world more קדוש, more special, to הקדוש ברוך הוא than the ד׳ אמות של הלכה. Since the חורבן בית המקדש there’s nothing more important to הקדוש ברוך הוא than Shas and our Torah seforim. So what are you thinking? To forego learning Torah for a cheap substitute?! Don’t forego learning for anything in the world.
    TAPE # 829

    #1320747

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    How do I best deal with a child who wants to go to places that the Rav doesn’t approve of, like the circus or baseball games?

    A:
    You give him substitutes. One that is a little more kosher than the other. So let’s say he wants to go to a circus. So, if there is no other way, then take him to a baseball game. If he wants to go to a baseball game, them take him to the park. If he wants to go to the park, then try to bring him to a farbrengen at a Rebbe instead. Always try to find something a little better than the thing he wants.

    Of course, there will be some times that you won’t be able to give him anything that he wants. But in general, look for substitutes. Many times a dollar, or a bigger bill, will serve as a happy substitute. There are ways and means of making children happy with kosher toys and kosher pastimes. Of course, it’s not always easy and it will take some planning and ability, but that’s the job of a parent.
    TAPE # 319

    #1320801

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    So if my kid wants to go to the circus, he should ask to go to a bar?

    #1320804

    Joseph
    Participant

    “Of course, there will be some times that you won’t be able to give him anything that he wants.”

    #1321611

    TorasAvigdor
    Participant

    Why is Moilech allowed to post stupidity here? Let him take his leitzanus elsewhere.

    #1321918

    yitzyk
    Participant

    Momentarily going back to the topic of eating meat…

    I appreciate all of the detailed references quoted here. I never understood how a Frum Yid could be a vegetarian, when the Torah specifically permits it, and even commands it when the meat is Kodshim from Korbannos. Furthermore, Chazzal urge that it be eaten on Shabbos and Yom Tov, as in “Ain Simcha Elah B’Bossor”, or “Bossor V’Dagim Vchol Mattamim,” etc… Now as I understand it, it is an optional degree of abstinance. (Note – that explanation may be plausible, but is still not in line with some of the quotes I have seen that strongly imply or say outright that eating meat is ‘cruel’ and ‘wrong’.)

    There is also the nagging question on my mind of what these people will say when Moshiach comes and we once again have a Korban Pesach…

    #1322307

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on The Goldfish and the Dog

    Q:
    What should a parent say when his child wants a pet like a dog or a goldfish?

    A:
    If he wants a goldfish, that’s just like getting him a toy. Nothing wrong with buying him a toy. But a dog; he doesn’t need for that. A dog is a symbol that he identifies with the goyim of the neighborhood. I’m not saying that every child wants it for that reason, but that’s what a dog means.

    What is a dog for? Some people say that a dog is for the purpose of protecting them, but actually, it’s not so. Some people have these little dogs – tiny fragile things – and the dogs themselves need protection. For these tiny, little dogs – anyone can give it a good kick and kill it. What a dog really means in most cases is, “I’m a goy like all the goyim.” That’s what it really means in most cases.

    Some people, unfortunately, pick up their dog in their arms and kiss it like a child. They use it instead of a child. Instead of having any children, they have two dogs in the house. I once saw a family saying farewell to their married son and daughter. They bent over and first they said goodbye to their son and daughter. Then they bent over and kissed their daughter’s dog goodbye, like a member of the family.

    So when people sink so low that they accept animals on the level of human beings, then you have to know that they’re sinning against the Torah, sinning against Hashem and sinning against common sense.

    And therefore, I’m very much against having dogs. But goldfish are no harm. It’s a hobby, a toy, for a child, so let him have a goldfish if he wants.
    TAPE # E-37

    #1322321

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “What should a parent say when his child wants a pet like a dog or a goldfish?”

    “They use it instead of a child. Instead of having any children,”

    Got it! The child should have children.
    thanks for sharing

    #1322327

    Joseph
    Participant

    “Some people” is referring to the broader reasons why adults get dogs. It wasn’t directly addressing, at that point in the reply, why the child requested it.

    #1322672

    TorasAvigdor
    Participant

    Ubiq – time to review those reading comp skills.

    #1322737

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    When I tell my little child to thank Hashem for being healthy and having two feet, he looks at me like I just fell off the moon and he laughs. How should I deal with that?

    A:
    It’s not only your child. When you tell it to your sixty year old brother, he’ll also laugh. I’m afraid to say that even some people with long coats and long beards will laugh as well. He might be polite enough not to laugh, but in his heart he’s laughing. In his heart, he’s not thinking about thanking Hashem. Nobody thinks about thanking Hashem! Do you know why? I’ll tell you a secret. They don’t believe in Hashem. Even for the frum Jew, it’s only a word in the siddur. It’s not a reality. If he would have as much emunah in Hashem as he has in his brother in Queens or in Boro Park, believe me, he would be the biggest tzadik in the world.

    Our first job – and it’s a big job – is to actually believe in Hashem, to gain an awareness that He’s right here. And then we can think about thanking Him for our health.

    So don’t be surprised at your little child. However don’t give up hope. You keep on talking to your little child and don’t think that he’s not listening. The child might laugh at you, but the words go into his heart. And those seeds of emunah are going to remain there. And someday they might bear beautiful fruit.
    TAPE # 628

    #1324317

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    How can I learn to mourn for the בית המקדש?

    A:
    How can you mourn for the בית המקדש?! Well, if you never think about the בית המקדש, you’ll never be able to understand the loss. So first of all, think about the בית המקדש. Most people don’t even think about it. And then the חודש אב comes and they want to know – tell me how to mourn for the חורבן.

    So when you finish שמונה עשרה, make sure to say the last few words slowly, with some thought. Most people are already thinking about breakfast or something else when they say these words: יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו. Say it with כונה. At least these words you can say with כונה. Say ותן חלקינו בתורתיך ושם נעבדך ביראה כימי עולם וכשנים קדמוניות and think about the words you are saying.

    Say these words slowly. And think about them. Show that you understand that it’s a loss. If you don’t even understand that it’s a loss, then there’s no use talking. So every day, when you finish שמונה עשרה make sure to say these words. That’s number one.

    Also, if you can think about how great the opportunity was when the בית המקדש existed. You would come to the בית המקדש and you would learn יראת שמים just from looking at it. למען תלמד ליראה את ה׳ אלוקיך כל הימים – “In order that you should learn to fear Hashem your G-d all the days” (Dvarim 14:23). Merely by coming there and seeing the כהנים בעבדותם and the לויים בשירם ובזימרם, you would become so inspired. And that’s a terrible loss!

    You know, that יונה הנביא became a נביא because he was at the שמחת בית השואבה in the בית המקדש. And he was so inspired by what he witnessed, that the רוח הקודש came upon him and he became a נביא.

    And therefore you can say, “רבונו של עולם, please restore for us the בית המקדש.” It doesn’t mean you want משיח. The בית המקדש without משיח is also good. Of course it won’t come without משיח. But you have recognize the great gift of the בית המקדש on its own. So you have to think, “I want משיח to come build the בית המקדש again, and we should all come together in the בית המקדש and we’ll get רוח הקודש just from being there.” That’s why we want the בית המקדש – to get closer to Hashem.

    So that’s how to mourn for the בית המקדש. Little by little, you have to think these thoughts and that’s how to begin. You’ll never mourn for it if you don’t feel the loss. So first you have to train yourself to feel how great was the opportunity when we had it. And then you’ll know what it means to not have it, and you’ll be able to mourn for the loss.
    TAPE # E-239

    #1324432

    yitzyk
    Participant

    That was beautiful.

    Thanks Joseph – keep them coming!

    #1324466

    Joseph
    Participant

    Moilech, please take your letzanus to the humor thread.

    #1324488

    yitzchokm
    Participant

    Moilech
    What you’re doing is disgusting. Even though you think that you’re being cute and funny, the fact is that you’re preventing others from reading Torah wisdom seriously.

    Stop it. Being a letz has its hazards. Don’t fall into the pit.

    #1324716

    TorasAvigdor
    Participant

    Joseph,
    Please post the Q and A that was sent out on June 5th “The Mussar Lesson in the Hospital Bed” so that Moilech gets a better understanding of the damage he is doing to himself. Thank you.

    #1324718

    Sam2
    Participant

    To go to Eretz Yisroel and to stand at a wall that means nothing to you?! It’s just a זכר of ימי קדם.

    Well this isn’t incredibly insulting to the Jews who for a millenium were Moser Nefesh just to get to the Kosel, right? Why doesn’t he ask the Rishonim what they think about giving up learning time to go to Eretz Yisrael and/or the Kosel?

    #1324736

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on The Mussar Lesson in the Hospital Bed

    Q:
    How does one give Mussar to someone who doesn’t want to hear it?

    A:
    Don’t give it. אל תוכח לץ (Mishlei 9-8). Don’t give Mussar to a לץ – to someone who’s just going to laugh it off. הקדוש ברוך הוא will give him Mussar. Hashem will give him Mussar that he won’t be able to laugh off. How? He’ll be lying in the hospital with a broken leg, a broken thigh. He has to have a cast. And it hurts like anything. That’s the time that he’ll be able to think a little about the Mussar that Hashem is giving him. That’s what it’s for. It’s much harder to laugh off that type of Mussar. And I’m afraid that even then, it won’t help for a לץ. But sometimes it does help a little bit.

    Some people became frum when they were in the trenches. Hiding in the trenches in wartime. And bullets flying overhead. They became בעלי תשובה in the trenches. I know someone like that. It’s a fact. He was so frightened, that in the trench, he became a בעל תשובה. He came back to America and became frum. But it’s not a very impressive way to become a בעל תשובה. Because sometimes, you don’t leave the trenches. You get gassed in the trenches.

    And so, better for a person to become a בעל תשובה because he comes, let’s say, and listens to lectures. These lectures won’t hurt you. Or, take a Mesillas Yesharim. There are plenty of good Mussar seforim. That’s how to become a בעל תשובה. Become a בעל תשובה with the Mussar seforim. It’s much better than in the hospital or in the trenches. Don’t be that לץ who has to be taught Mussar by Hashem in a hospital bed.
    TAPE # E-230

    #1324762

    TorasAvigdor
    Participant

    Why would somebody ever be מוסר נפש to go to the Kosel? That wouldn’t be permitted. Which Rishonim are you referring to?

    #1324835

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on Loving Your Troublesome Neighbor

    Q:
    If I was harmed by a fellow Jew in some way, do I still have an obligation to love him?

    A:
    If someone was harmed by his fellow Jew, the love that he must feel for that fellow Jew should continue undiminished. And that’s because our yardstick for who to love and when to love is not our emotions and instincts – our yardstick is the words of הקדוש ברוך הוא.

    Now, you have the right to call your fellow Jew to a דין תורה, and under certain circumstances עביד איניש דינא לנפשיה – sometimes the Torah allows you to take the law into your own hands. And you have the right to tell him what wrong he did to you, because the Torah says לא תשנא את אחיך הלב בלבביך – “You must not hate your fellow Jew in your heart” (Vayikra 19:17). And the Rambam explains that it shouldn’t be festering in your heart. Tell him, work things out and go on.

    Therefore, the fact that somebody wronged you does not make him פסול, unfit, or unworthy of the mitzvah of loving our fellow Jews. Only when he is no longer רעך במצוות, when he is no longer your fellow Jew in performance of mitzvos, only then would the mitzvah to love him not apply. But if it’s a person who keeps the mitzvos, he keeps the Torah in general, then it makes no difference what he did to you. You are still מחויב, obligated, to love him. Now I realize that this is not an easy thing to do, but that is the חוק התורה. That’s what the Torah requires and that’s what is expected of us על פי דין תורה.
    TAPE # 928

    #1325442

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    Should I be saying Tikun Chatzos during the Nine Days?

    A:
    Tikun Chatzos is a good thing, but don’t just daven it up. I would say that it’s a good idea to just sit down on the floor before you go to sleep – even for a minute. Do it after your wife falls asleep – or after your husband falls asleep – so that they won’t think you’ve gone crazy. But sit on the floor in Aveilus for the Churban Beis Ha’mikdash, mourning for the destruction, for a full minute and then go to sleep.

    A minute is also good enough. Don’t think it’s a small thing. When I was a boy I used to say Tikun Chatzos. But now – even better – sit on the floor for a moment and think about what we’re missing. A minute for the Churban Beis Ha’mikdash and then go to sleep. This is a very good eitzah you’re hearing now – a very important eitzah.

    TAPE # E-239

    #1325593

    GAON
    Participant

    Toras – “Why would somebody ever be מוסר נפש to go to the Kosel? That wouldn’t be permitted. Which Rishonim are you referring to?”

    See Ramban in the Kesavim D’rush Rosh haShana (I think at the end), where he clearly writes what he went through to go to EY.

    #1325609

    TorasAvigdor
    Participant

    Eretz Yisroel is very different. According to many Rishonim that would be a mitzvah that one should be willing to suffer for (although actual mesiras nefesh is questionable). But the discussion here was going to the Kosel, not yishuv eretz Yisroel.

    #1325626

    Joseph
    Participant

    The question was about giving up Torah learning to tour the Holy Land and Kosel. It wasn’t about moving to Eretz Yisroel.

    #1328700

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    How do you explain Chazal’s statement that כל הכועס כאילו עובד עבודה זרה – “One who gets angry, it’s as if he has worshipped idols” ?

    A:
    The plain meaning is the following: One who worships idols is being פורק עול מלכות שמים – He’s removing from himself the yoke of fear of Heaven. By ascribing power to a deity besides Hashem, by saying that there’s something else besides Hashem, then he is no longer afraid of Hashem.

    Now when a man gets angry, at that moment the שכינה means nothing to him. His anger is more important to him than the Presence of Hashem that is looking at him and watching him. At that moment all that matters is his anger. He’s a פורק עול, because at that moment in time he has no G-d, no Master over him. And therefore during that fit of anger he is like a kofer (disbeliever) and like an עובד עבודה זרה, a worshipper of idols. Because, had he kept in mind that he’s standing in front of Hashem, then he surely would have checked himself.

    I’ll give you a משל. Suppose there was a policeman standing right in front of you. Even if he’s not an important person. Let’s say he’s not even a sergeant. Now, if this policeman is standing right here, right in front of you, then in most instances, you wouldn’t become angry at somebody else in front of the policeman. Your respect for the authority of the policeman would check your anger. You wouldn’t fly into a fit of rage with the policeman standing in front of you. Now, if the policeman’s blue uniform, and his badge, is enough to help you overcome your anger, then why shouldn’t the thought that you’re standing before Hashem help you? And I’ll tell you the answer. Because Hashem is only a word in the siddur. The policeman is standing in front of you, but הקדוש ברוך הוא is only a word in the siddur.

    Hashem should become a reality to you. And that’s a farfetched idea to most people. A person feels like he’s מתנדב, voluntarily, to serve Hashem. He thinks he’s being generous because he’s willing to obey the Torah. But to do it, to obey the Torah, because Hashem is standing in front of him?! No, that’s not what he’s thinking. Unfortunately, that’s not his motivation at all.

    And therefore, a person must learn to keep in his mind, as much as possible, this great principle of דע לפני מי אתה עומד – “Know in front of Whom you are standing.” Not only during שמונה עשרה – all the time! Keep in mind in front of Whom you are standing! And it’s a good idea to practice this from time to time. Try it for a minute a day. Think that you’re standing in the Presence of Hashem. It’s a very good thing to practice. And if you practice enough, soon you’re going to start believing it. And then you’re on your way. And if you’re standing in front of Hashem, if you know that you’re standing in front of Hashem, it will be much more difficult to become angry.
    [עיין נדרים כב· : כל הכועס אפילו השכינה אינה חשובה כנגדו]
    TAPE # 901

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