Thirteen years ago, the world lost a giant of Torah learning and Mussar. This Sunday, the 27th of Nissan, marks the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Avigdor Miller. Rav Miller’s weekly speeches have been compiled and annotated by his grandson, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, and printed by ArtScroll in the form of a sefer, Rabbi Avigdor Miller Speaks.
The foreword describes this great scholar:
Rav Miller was born in the United States in 1909, at a time when yeshivos were almost nonexistent and Torah observance was rare among the American-born youth. Despite his family’s poverty, which drove so many others to think first and foremost of financial security, Rav Miller exhibited from his earliest youth a strong desire for truth and a love of Hashem and His Torah. He was the “Avraham HaIvri,” the “Avraham of the other side,” of his time, for he stood on one side of the great river of American life, while the rest of his world stood on the other. It is almost impossible for the modern generation that has grown up in a world in which Torah, yeshivos, Chassidus, and shemiras hamitzvos flourish widely, to appreciate what it meant for a young person to be frum — let alone become a ben Torah — in those days of rampant Americanization and assimilation.
Rav Miller was blessed with an abundance of Heavenly assistance in overcoming the sea of religious indifference that flowed all around him. Whereas it is the nature of a person to be influenced by the standards of the society around him, Rav Miller from his earliest days was prepared to steer his own course. Early on he developed a strong yearning for truth and a fierce will to pursue it to its logical ends, regardless of the obstacles placed in his path or the difficulties encountered on the way.
Our Sages teach us that one who sets out to purify himself is helped by Heaven to attain that goal. In his old age he would recount a number of inspiring thoughts he heard as a child. He remembered a teacher telling him once that when he recited Modeh Ani in the morning, he should reflect on how fortunate he was to have been given another day of life — and how many people had not been so fortunate! This thought made such a lasting impression on him that he was still able to picture the face of that teacher eight decades later. As anyone familiar with his lectures and tapes can attest, it was a thought he repeated numerous times throughout his long life.
Once, as a young boy in Baltimore, he came out after Ma’ariv from shul and heard two old European Jews talking to each other. One said, “Ah! What a geshmacke Ma’ariv this was.” The man rubbed his hands together in pleasure. Rav Miller would often tell what a deep impression it made upon him to discover that praying could be “geshmack.”
His first encounter with the classic mussar work, Chovos HaLevavos, was as a teenager, in a sefarim store on the Lower East Side of New York. For the rest of his life, this sefer served as his constant companion and the foundation for so much of his thinking.
Excerpted from the foreword of Rabbi Avigdor Miller Speaks,
Rabbi Avrohom Leshinsky and Rabbi Yehezkel Danziger
This week’s Free Weekly Learning Download on The Official ArtScroll Blog offers a sample chapter of Rabbi Avigdor Miller Speaks, which will give you the opportunity to learn from one of Rav Miller’s shiurim on his Yahrzeit.
Click here to view, print or download an excerpt from the teachings of Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Also available based on the teachings of Rabbi Avigdor Miller:
Rabbi Avigdor Miller Speaks, Volume 2
The Tzadik HaDor. What a loss to Klal Yisroel felt to this day. Irreplaceable. He gave guidance to Klal Yisroel that was felt across the Jewish world. We need him back with us.
I frequently attended his Shiurim, and sorely miss him. This despite the fact, that his oldest grandson who took over is doing a great job.
At work I frequently listen to Rav Avigdor Miller’s tapes, because his speaking capacities were so phenomenal, that even if only half concentrating because I am working, I gain immensely from his tapes.
I am someone not familiar with Rabbi Millers work other then his posthumously released and heavily advertised book giving reason to the Holocaust.
Am I the only one who feels mortified by blaming the Jewish people for Hitler’s work? Am I just ignorant, or are others Gedolim who agree that the Nazis were simply HKBH’s shlichichim in carrying out God’s will?
No disrespect intended, I am simply looking for someone who understood his Mehalach to clarify
No. 2: What does Rabbi Miller say about devoting only half your concentration to the employer who provides your parnassah and probably pays you for 100% effort, not 50%? And don’t insult yourself by saying that if you devoted all your concentration to your work, it would not improve your performance.
He remembered a teacher telling him once that when he recited Modeh Ani in the morning, he should reflect on how fortunate he was to have been given another day of life — and how many people had not been so fortunate! – I was just today listening to his THURSDAY night number 35 shiur discussing this today. HE WAS EMES and the world misses him every day
You are ignorant (not your fault) because that book needs to be read with the backdrop of his over 1000 tapes and numerous books to fully understand the whole picture and that book unfortunately does not fully reflect the breadth of R. Millers hashkofo. There is in fact no indication in that book that an ounce of responsibility is taken off the shoulders of the nazis yet at the same time we must accept that our collective actions cause consequences. If you do not believe that then you believe ‘les din vles dayan’.
#3: And tach v’tat was because Jews were speaking in shul. That doesn’t mean the Ukrainian murder goyim are absolved of tach v’tat and instead the Jews themselves are solely responsible. Yet our Gedolim are capable of advising us the reasons for tragedies.
We also know the Jews are responsible for the Roman destruction of Yerushalayim. And so many other examples.
Nothing new here.
everyone agrees that the nazis ימ׳ש were carrying out HKBHs will. rav avigdor miller explained why hashem (may have) willed it.
I’ve listened to Rabbi Millers tapes for over 20 years to and from work. Some tapes I will replay. The value of immersion and repetition was immense. His lessons are still alive. Now I listen to the online collection. You can keep his teachings alive by listening and sharing his teachings. It is hard to find any teacher today with his immense skill.
I think I listened to most of the tapes of his shuirim. What a great speaker!
In my humble opinion the last of the great musar teachers and we sorely miss him.
Nothing happens in this world unless Hashem allows it to happen. So the Nazis, and their collaborators, ym”sh could not have done what they did unless Hashem had a reason or reasons to have allowed them to do so.
Regardless of who is or isn’t at fault, I don’t see this as “mortifying”.
There were various nisyonos pre-WW II, including Zionism; people did, unfortunately, fall prey to these deviant movements.
B”H, Klal Yisrael has much to be proud of with all the Torah and kiruv that goes on today, as we wait anxiously for the true geulah.
May we all be zoche to greet Mashiach, BB”A.