He goes into the idea of how to be a truly wealthy person, a sameach bachelko--one who is happy with his portion.
And what is a "portion" anyway? Find out in The Guide to True Happiness: Parshat Bo.
He explains how to build yourself into a very happy person. Rav Miller's innovative take on happiness is that it's a science that needs to be studied and practiced. And he offers a weekly program, starting with appreciating air (including how to instill this in your children).
This reminds me of a story I heard about Rav Miller.
His child or grandchild walked into the kitchen when the venerable rav had his head in the sink with water covering his whole face. When he finally came up for air, the child asked him what he was doing and Rav Miller said something like, "Appreciating air."
People often complain that we aren't really told how great people become great. How can we learn from them? The truth is that real teshuvah & self-improvement is a private process. But here is one tip from Rav Miller: Dunk your whole face in water and stay there until you can't any longer. Then appreciate the great gift of air.
Rav Miller also declares his program to be a wonderful antidote to depression.
The Correct POV toward Any Holier-Than-Thou Resistance
Now, those of us who read Rav Shalom Arush's books and took them to heart, including doing some of the very difficult things he insists are part and parcel of authentic Torah Judaism (they are), know that you must be very careful when discussing this with others because they will say things like, "Avraham Avinu wasn't really b'simcha when he went to Akeidat Yitzchak" (even though Rashi clearly says he was--not because he was cruel, but because it was ratzon Hashem and Avraham Avinu was always happy to conform to Hashem's Will).
Or they'll insist it's "Breslov" -- which it is, but Rebbe Nachman didn't invent the concept; it's in the Torah and every mussar book that predates Rebbe Nachman emphasizes this. It's in the Gemara too.
Or people will insist that such a hike toward emuna is only for "truly great people" or "not realistic for our generation."
And it's disheartening because I'm not Breslov (although I'm a big fan) and I'm discouragingly far from being a "truly great person" and as a firm member of "this generation," it's also discouraging to hear that such core concepts aren't for me.
But guess what? People also tried to discourage Rav Miller! He's not Breslov, nor was he quoting from Breslov, and he was a truly great person who was also in "this generation."
So what is there to say to him?
Here you go:
Here comes along a frum tzaddik and says to me, “You're teaching people to enjoy life?! The purpose of life is ta'anugim?! To be rodef ta'anugim, run after pleasures?!”
He was upset at me.
It's so bizarre because Rav Miller is always talking about divorcing oneself from the materialistic non-Jewish aspects of This World. Rav Miller possesses a very Slabodka-like perspective on what people should not be doing -- a perspective that often isn't popular and even drove people away (although Rav Miller was right).
Yet he is suddenly accused of encouraging people to be rodef taanugim--a person who pursues pleasures.
How wacky is that?
But as always, Rav Miller demonstrated his incisive perspective on things. For example, he pointed out that his critiquer wore a wristwatch, while Rav Miller did not. His critiquer drove a car to shul while Rav Miller came on foot.
Then Rav Miller tells the "frum tzaddik":
"Who is running after pleasure, you or I? You're running after it, but you don't have it. I'm not looking for pleasures. They're coming to me. As I walk in the street with my “Rolls Royce” -- my two shoes, that's my Rolls Royce -- and I'm breathing the air of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, I'm enjoying life. I walk past the cemetery on Ocean Parkway, and I'm filled with happiness that I'm on this side of the gate.”
That kind of kosher ta'anugim is a chiyuv, it's a mitzvah gedolah to enjoy life that way.
Then Rav Miller explains the irrationality of denigrating gratitude and appreciation:
I know that if you go to a kollel and you'll tell them these things, they'll laugh at you. That's because they're silly -- they don't begin knowing Torah.
And don't tell me that enjoyment and happiness is not for tzadikim.
Oh no, you big tzadik, you don't want to enjoy the sun and the wind. He's eating his chocolate cakes and ice cream -- but to be happy with the sun, that's too much.
(Also, it's important to note that Rav Miller didn't mean all kollels would respond that way. There are some which would really appreciate hearing such things. He was saying this to make a point about how divorced from authentic Jewish hashkafah even scholarly frum Jews can be if they allow the surrounding culture to overwhelm their better instincts.)
Shabbat Shalom & I hope you'll fully enjoy The Guide to True Happiness: Parshat Bo.
(All quotes used with permission from Toras Avigdor.)