Q&A With Rav Avigdor Miller

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  • #1328778

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    What would be a practical מחשבה for one to contemplate when trying to overcome a difficult נסיון that involves a תאוה, a forbidden desire?

    A:
    When you have some sort of test, think of Gehenim. And Gehenim – don’t think it’s far away. Many people thought Gehenim was a long way off, and then it was the next day in their lives.

    The people in the airplane that crashed this week, weren’t thinking about Gehenim. It didn’t even cross their minds. And plenty of them are in Gehenim right now. Plenty of them. Suddenly they came to Gehenim. And it was too late to do anything about it.

    And therefore, think about Gehenim when some תאוה, some נסיון, is facing you. Gehenim is a wonderful gift from הקדוש ברוך הוא to us, if used properly. Because Gehenim means fear of Hashem. It’s much better to think about Gehenim when you’re in this world, than to have to experience it in the Next World.

    And therefore, if a person wants to protect himself against making serious errors, the first thing is יראת העונש, he should be afraid of Gehenim. There’s a tremendous benefit to bringing Gehenim into your life with your thoughts. Nowadays people don’t want to think about Gehenim, but that’s a fatal error. It’s important to keep the picture of Gehenim in your mind. And many tzadikim became great because they feared Gehenim.
    TAPE # E-155

    #1328793

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on Fake News

    ,Q:
    What is wrong with newspapers?
    A:
    What is right with them? You have to know that מרשעים יצא רשע – from wicked people, comes out wickedness. Now, who are the people there in the newspaper offices, in the editorial rooms? Atheists! They’re all atheists – they say so themselves. They’re open atheists. So what can you expect of them, except wickedness?! And therefore, everything is wrong with newspapers.
    TAPE # 928

    Q:
    Is there such a thing as a kosher newspaper?
    A:
    I’m not able to tell you. I didn’t make any investigations or comparisons. There are certainly good things in some of the kosher newspapers, no question. But that I should give a hechsher on everything that they say?! That’s already too much for me.
    TAPE # 924

    Q:
    How do I wipe away the harmful influence that I brought upon myself by reading goyish newspapers for years?
    A:
    That’s a difficult question because a mind that read newspapers and watched television has already been indelibly impressed forever. Still, it is possible to superimpose on top of that dirty layer, a new layer of kedusha, of idealism, of noble thoughts. And then another layer. And then another. So it depends on how thick and how hard the layers are going to be. Sometimes you can put so much on top that it will bury the bottom layer.

    However, whatever enters your mind is there forever. So if you put into your mind thoughts of emunah, thoughts of kedusha – if you listen and you learn, and you generate genuine idealism, then a very great deal can be accomplished. But it all depends, however, on how much you are going to superimpose on top of the old foundation in order to keep it buried.
    TAPE # 926

    #1329049

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on Sleeping Well and Avoiding the Psychiatrist

    Q:
    What would the Rav give as an עצה, some advice, to conquer his temptation to sleep?

    A:
    The answer is – don’t conquer it. Make sure you go to sleep every night on time. Sleep eight hours every night. The trouble is that people don’t sleep enough. And then they start to break down, and they go to psychologists and they get medicines and סי טויג אויף כפרות – it’s not worth it. It’s counterproductive.

    Sleep is very important. It’s more important than food. It’s more important than vitamins. It’s so important to sleep. I can tell you from experience. I know so many people, so many fine people, young people, who ruined their careers by not sleeping.

    Now, some צדיקים, are very strong. And they can get along with less sleep. But don’t begin to suspect that you’re the one. Don’t think that you’re the one.
    TAPE # E-224

    #1329066

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    I hear people saying that the גדולי ישראל have רוח הקודש. Can you explain that to us?

    A:
    Well, it’s not the same רוח הקודש that’s said about מגילת אסתר for example. There’s absolutely no comparison! אסתר ברוח הקודש נאמרה – The Megillas Esther was said with רוח הקודש means that it was inspired, it was a form of נבואה, of prophecy. And that form of רוח הקודש no longer existed after the beginning of the second בית המקדש.

    The term רוח הקודש as applied to our great men, means that הקדוש ברוך הוא gives them an inspiration. He gives them סייעתא דשמיא. He gives them help from Heaven so that they should be able to arrive at conclusions much more rapidly and much more correctly than ordinary people.

    But it does not mean that they cannot make mistakes. Absolutely not! They can make mistakes with this form of רוח הקודש. The Rambam says that when הקדוש ברוך הוא gave His spirit to the שופטים, like שמשון, it says ותחל רוח ה׳ לפעמו “The spirit of Hashem began to beat in him.” That doesn’t mean the spirit of prophecy. It means a spirit of סייעתא דשמיא. It means that Hashem helped him. The Rambam says that דניאל had that as well. And yet, the Gemara says that דניאל made a mistake. And it’s written in the Gemara the mistake that דניאל made. So you can have סייעתא דשמיא and still make a mistake.

    The truth is that Moshe Rabeinu also made a mistake. He made more than one mistake. And it’s openly mentioned in the Gemara, הודה ולא בוש – He was big enough to admit his mistake. He said, “I was wrong.” Now that’s something! Isn’t that a tremendous statement to make? The Gemara could have concealed that. The Gemara didn’t have to mention that. The Gemara could have said that Moshe Rabeinu was infallible. But instead the Gemara says that he erred. So what’s the story? The truth is this: When Hashem spoke to Moshe, that’s תורת ה׳. No mistakes in the תורת ה׳. But when Moshe spoke on his own – and Moshe no doubt had plenty of רוח הקודש of his own, more than Rashi had – then he could make mistakes.

    Moshe was הודה ולא בוש. He admitted his error. Because our Torah is a Torah of אמת, of truth. It’s not a Torah of propaganda חס ושלום. And that’s why it says about our greatest leader הודה ולא בוש. Those are glorious words. These words are the honor of our nation. Moshe Rabeinu made a mistake. We want a Torah of אמת, truth. That’s the greatness of the Jewish people.
    TAPE # 114

    #1329562

    yitzyk
    Participant

    Thank you yet again, Joseph. And of course R’ Miller ZT”L!

    #1329690

    Joseph
    Participant

    Q:
    What do Chazal mean when they say או חברותא או מיתותא – Either a friend or death (Ta’anis 23a) ?

    A:
    There’s a statement או חברותא או מיתותא – either I have a chaver or I don’t want to live, I want death. What does that mean? The answer is that we learned עשה לך רב וקנה לך חבר (Avos 1:6). Make for yourself a Rebbi. A Rebbi is very important. But a good friend is a treasure. You should be willing to pay money for a good friend. It says הרבה למדתי מרבותי – I learned very much from my teachers, ומחברי יותר מרבותי – and I learned even more from my chaveirim than from my teachers (Ta’anis 7a).

    Good chaveirim change you. It’s remarkable how a person is transformed if he associates with good people. Even one good chaver can change your life. But a chaver can ruin you as well. The מסילת ישרים says that before you choose a chaver, you should examine him more carefully than you examine the food that you’re about to eat. Let’s say you’re about to eat some food that you have some suspicion about. So you take a look, maybe there’s some dead fleas inside the food. Maybe there’s a hair inside the food. Whatever it is, before you choose a chaver be very, very careful. A bad chaver is worse than dead fleas and some hair in your food. Much worse.

    But having a good chaver – you’ll be amazed at what it can do for you. The chaver becomes part of you. It’s so much easier to correct things in yourself and to gain good qualities if you have a good chaver.

    And of course, there’s one more מדריגה, one more level. ומתלמידי יותר מכולם. When you teach others, when you teach people things, it makes an impression on you. As you tell people things, you start thinking, “Maybe I should listen, too.” It makes an impression on you.

    So הרבה למדתי מרבותי, no question about that. You can gain tremendous things from a Rebbi. עשה לך רב. But you must know that a good chaver can be even better than a Rebbi. ומחבירי יותר מרבותי. And therefore, קנא לך חבר – You should be willing to pay money for a good friend. A good friend can change you forever. Someone who will help you become better. That’s what life is for, to become better. So או חברותא או מיתותא. You’re alive right now for the purpose of making something out of yourself. So make sure to find that good friend who will criticize you and help you, and make you a better person. If you have a wife who criticizes you, you’re a lucky man. It’s a treasure. No matter what, you must have a good friend who helps you become a better person. If not, what’s the point of being alive?!
    TAPE # E-155

    #1330318

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on A Practical Lesson For Tisha B’Av

    Q:
    What should I do if I want to learn to love my fellow Jews, but I just don’t feel like I really love them?

    A:
    Start with one person. Pick a Jew who’s not too difficult to love. And say, “I love him.” Don’t tell it to him. Say it. And say it again. And say it tomorrow again. And little by little, you’ll be surprised, there will be results. I guarantee results. I’ll give you your money back in case it doesn’t work. It’s really a poshuteh concept, a simple idea. It’s called auto-suggestion. You start with one person, and after a while you move on to the next Jew. And you’ll never stop.

    By the way, I want to tell you again what we mentioned here a few times from Rabeinu Yonah. He says, בד׳ יצדקו ויתהללו כל זרע ישראל. What does that mean? בד׳ – By thinking about Hashem; יצדקו – they become tzadikim; ויתהללו – and they become praiseworthy; כל זרע ישראל – and Rabeinu Yonah explains these last three words like this: the זרע ישראל, all the seed of Israel, have potential excellence – potential perfection and greatness within themselves. You have inside of you the possibility to love Hashem and to love His people. Yes, you have it within you. But you have to bring it forth. By thinking about Hashem constantly, then little by little it comes forth. בד׳ – by thinking about Hashem, יצדקו – you become a tzadik.

    This principle of utilizing auto-suggestion will bring you to greatness in many area, not only this. For instance, when you see a peach pit lying on the ground, like I saw today, you have to start saying the following: This peach pit on the ground is a remarkable phenomenon. The peach pit is very hard. You can’t open it up. Inside there is a seed. And that seed is very valuable because it’s needed to plant another peach tree. That’s why it’s so hard. To protect it from animals and people. It’s so hard that even with a hammer sometimes you can’t open it up. Nothing in the peach tree is as hard as the shell of the peach pit. Now you can see the Yad Hashem in the peach pit. Hashem wants that tree to develop another peach tree. That’s why He made it so hard. Now, think about that. You say it one time and it makes no impression. So you say it again and again: “Why is it so hard?” Each time you see a peach pit, “Why is it so hard? To save the seed inside it, in order to make another tree.” You see a peach pit again, so say it again. And after a hundred times it enters into your mind that you’re seeing the Hand of Hashem at work here.

    Now, when you put that peach pit into the ground, it begins to open up by itself and the seed is revealed, and a peach tree begins to grow. How does that happen? The answer is that the two halves of the pit are pasted together with a wonderful formula, with a paste, a wonderful paste that will not yield to water and not yield to the banging of a hammer. But it yields to the fungi and bacteria in the soil. It’s מן השמים. It’s the hand of Hashem. But hearing it from me is only going to make a pale impression on your mind. You have to keep talking about it yourself. The first time you hear yourself saying it, it makes a very small impression. But say it a hundred times. Say it again and again, and by the time you’re forty, you’ll become a man who sees the Yad Hashem in the world. You will have gained a tremendous excellence. You’ll recognize on all sides of you the Hand of Hashem.

    The פסוק says, והאלוקים עשה – Hashem made the world in such a way, שיראו מלפניו – so that you should recognize Hashem, so that you should gain הכרה חושית, a sensory perception, an actual awareness of Hashem. But you have to work on it because nothing happens by itself. By itself, you are a nobody and you will remain a nobody.

    So, if you want to love the עם ישראל, then you’ll have to get busy loving the עם ישראל. You have to persuade yourself. Let’s say when you married a girl, everyone persuaded you to marry her. Maybe you weren’t so interested, but you married her anyhow. Always persuade yourself that your wife is the one that’s loyal to you, and that you love your wife. Keep on saying it and little by little it’ll be that way. By the time you are forty years old, you must start loving your wife.

    Don’t think that what I’m telling you is דברים בטלים, just wasted words. It’s the real truth. You have to work on it. המחשבה נמשכת אחר הדיבור – Your mind follows the way you talk. That’s why it’s so important to always be saying the right words. That’s why we say the שירי דוד עבדיך. We follow Dovid’s footsteps and we say the words that he said. Of course, we don’t have the same thoughts as Dovid did, but little by little, as you say his words, the thoughts of Dovid begin to gradually enter your mind. Gradually, gradually, these thoughts enter your mind. Little by little. And that’s why it’s so important to say the שירי דוד עבדיך. Like when you say his words in davening and in Tehillim, if you think about the words you’re saying, you gradually become a new person.

    And therefore, when a person learns Torah, when he learns Gemara, at first it seems like just הלכות, like technical laws. But the הלכות enter your mind and you become aware of the great principles that every mesichta and every sugya talk about. Tremendous principles of kedusha, of service of Hashem, of loving His Torah. Little by little it enters your mind. Keep on doing it and talking about it and after a while you become an אוהב תורה, you’ll start loving the Torah. And it will become מתוקים מדבש – sweeter than honey. Yes, it will become sweeter than honey, ונופת צופים and more delicious than anything else. You don’t care for any other interest in the world except for learning Torah, once you get a taste of learning. And then you’ll understand why you can’t learn Torah on Tisha B’Av.

    So you’ll have to teach yourself all these good things. You can gradually become a great person if you follow this system. And anybody who wants to make any sort of progress in life should work on at least these two things. We love הקדוש ברוך הוא and we love the עם ישראל.
    TAPE # E-242

    #1330474

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    Wow good practical advice

    #1332623

    Joseph
    Participant

    Har Sinai – The Antidote to the Yetzer Ha’Rah

    Q:
    How can a parent help prepare his teenage children to resist the יצר הרע?

    A:
    Well, it depends which יצר הרע you’re talking about. The truth is that most of the parents are victims of their own יצר הרע.

    However, what you can do in the home is to emphasize the truths of the תורה as much as possible. To speak the truths of the תורה principles. There are so many things to talk about. For example, the Rambam says: The most important idea to speak about is השמר לך ושמור נפשך מאד פן תשכח את הדברים אשר ראו עיניך יום אשר עמדת לפני ה׳ אלוקיך בחורב. The Rambam says that מעמד הר סיני is the most important principle to give over to your children and grandchildren. גדליהו על כל גדולה. Make it more important than any other greatness. Speak about it with your children always. והודעתם לבניך ולבני בניך. “Make it known to your children and to your grandchildren.” Speak about מתן תורה. It’s so important. The יסוד היסודות is מתן תורה. So make sure to speak about it with your children and always emphasize it.

    In your homes, you speak about about everything. Every meshugas, every stupidity. If you raise your children on meshugas, then you come to ask how to prepare them to fight the יצר הרע?! Make your home a place where all the יסודות, all the Torah-principles are discussed, and in that way your children will be fortified. They’ll be ready.

    That’s actually one of the things I wanted to discuss here tonight, but I didn’t have time to talk about it. There are many things that you should be speaking about in the home, but this is the יסוד היסודות. This is the great foundation upon which everything else rests. And that is the great weapon against the יצר הרע. If you believe, and understand, what took place on that great occasion when the עם ישראל heard the voice of Hashem speaking, that is the answer to all questions.
    TAPE # E-193

    #1332949

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on Moving To Eretz Yisroel or Chicago

    Q:
    What should be our attitude towards moving to Eretz Yisroel? Should we be preparing for making עליה to Israel?

    A:
    What should be our attitude towards preparing to move to Eretz Yisroel? Or to Israel? Well, there’s a big difference between those two.

    We should prepare every day to go Eretz Yisroel. Every day you should be ready because when Moshiach comes you won’t have much time to prepare. You should know that the Chofetz Chaim was busy preparing. He wrote seforim on קדשים and the עבודת בית המקדש, the laws that will be in place when we rebuild the בית המקדש, so that we should know what to do when we get there. So this type of preparation surely should be made. You should be preparing all the time for that great day when Moshiach comes.

    Now, if you’re thinking about preparing to go there soon yourself, without Moshiach, then it depends on your circumstances. If you’re going to go live in a very Orthodox neighborhood, which will be better than your present environment, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t improve yourself. Why not? However if you’re just going there, to Eretz Yisrael, because it’s Israel, to settle anyplace, then it doesn’t pay. Because you can move to places in Israel that are just like Chicago, like the bad neighborhoods in Chicago. If you move to Tel-Aviv, to certain neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, and many other places in the State of Israel, then it’s no different than moving to Chicago. So you have to know where you want to move. But if you have a good place to move to, where it will improve you, then why not? As long as you have parnasa, why not?
    TAPE # 9

    #1333068

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rav Avigdor Miller on President Nixon and Fake News

    Q:
    Did you change your mind about President Nixon now that it has been proven that he cheated on his income taxes?

    fA:
    If anybody is even a little bit acquainted with the income tax laws, he knows that they have so many nuances of interpretation, that if you get a mean judge, he could convict almost anybody of income tax evasion on technicalities. And that’s besides the fact that he could actually convict most people outright for straight out fraud. If investigations were made on everybody, most people would be behind bars. This is well-known. What are accountants for? Not to give the government its due. An accountant is there to see how much he can keep out of the hands of the government. But even when an accountant is perfectly honest and his report doesn’t hold back anything, still there are so many shades of meaning in the tax codes. You know that many of these cases have gone in front of the courts. Income tax cases are constantly coming up in front of the Supreme Court, which means that the laws are open to interpretation. One court says this and then it’s overturned. And then it’s appealed and it’s overturned again. Nixon didn’t cheat on his income taxes. He had some of the best accountants in the country, you can be sure of that. And their interpretation was one way. But once these eagle-eyes hawk liberals are after him, so anything that he does is interpreted to his discredit. And therefore they forced him to pay. He could have fought it in the courts. Absolutely he could have fought this case in the courts. But he didn’t want to. It wasn’t worth it. That’s why he paid.

    Now on the subject of the tapes, we have to realize that America is actually running wild. To take tapes of a President’s private conversations and to broadcast them on the radio for everyone to hear – that means that America has hit a new low. Never before has there been such a disgrace.

    And therefore, we have to keep our heads above water. There is a flood of wickedness that is sweeping the country. And it’s a craze. It’s not a rational thing. Just because the Democrats couldn’t win at the ballot box, they’re trying to recoup their losses in Congress, through impeachment.

    On this subject, you have to know that the public are nothing but the victims of the media. I have told you many times that you are all the victims of the radio and the newspapers. But if we were able to judge the situation impartially, you’d see that President Nixon is actually one of the great presidents. He is a victim of persecution. And I think that every Jew should speak up. Every Jew should take his cue, not from the mischievous men on the radio and television, but he should take his cue from the Gedolei Yisroel, and he should be מתפלל בשלומה של מלכות. You should pray for the welfare of the President and his government. I think we all ought to write a little note to President Nixon. Address it to President Nixon, White House, Washington D.C. and write: “President Nixon, we are with you.” And put the date on it so that he shouldn’t think that it was a week ago that you wrote it. No, you’re writing it today, after the news came out. “President Nixon, we are with you!” And if you can also write some other notes to his opponents, telling them what to do, then do it. And telling them where to go, then do it.
    TAPE # 59

    #1333687

    SHP
    Participant

    Please do not post/publish Rabbi Avigdor Miller’s material without express permission of the copyright holder, Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel/Simchas Hachaim Publishing. Rabbi Miller’s sfarim and shiurim may be purchased from SimchasHachaim.com.

    #1333830

    Sam2
    Participant

    He supported Nixon that late? That’s fascinating.

    #1335168

    Joseph
    Participant

    SHP: These Q&As are transcribed outside the yeshiva from the decades old tapes that were bought many years ago. (These Q&As are also freely found printed out in some shuls.)

    #1335235

    SHP
    Participant

    Please do not post/publish Rabbi Avigdor Miller’s material without express permission of the copyright holder, Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel/Simchas Hachaim Publishing.

    #1346951

    JJ2020
    Participant

    If the Chofetz Chaim said someone born to parents who didn’t keep taharas hamishpacha will be wicked, that statement doesn’t preclude one from doing teshuvah and then later become something other than wicked.

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