Plus, he offers practical tips for improving your derech eretz.
And as usual, he places tremendous emphasis on noticing all the good that Hashem does for us.
Here's an excerpt:
If you sit and look at an apple or an orange for fifteen minutes, you won’t be the same person anymore - I guarantee it.
If you look at the apple for fifteen minutes and think about the wonders that you see there, you’ll see the gilui shechina, absolutely.
And Hashem made the apple for that purpose - so that you should think about Him. He told us that when He introduced us to fruit for the first time: "...v'nechmad ha'etz l'haskil - The fruit is desirable to make wise” (Bereishis 3:6).
Not just to eat.
The real function of the fruit is to make you wise - fruit causes wisdom, yes!
Only that in order to make the lesson more delicious, He makes the apple taste delicious too. It’s like having a gemara printed on sponge cake.
So you’re saying the Rashi, and then you take a little bite from the margin - it’s a geshmaka sugya!
Rav Avigdor Miller on Parshat Korach
As usual, Rav Miller brings the world of Tanach to life and draws us into it.
Ever wonder what it was like when your house caught tzaraat? With Rav Miller, you're suddenly standing in the house and experiencing it all, including the emotional aspect.
He elaborates with vivid visualization (you on a telegraph pole in an attempt to escape a bereft she-bear) on the verse in Mishlei 17:12.
The part about guarding your mind is so powerful and so chilling.
Rav Miller explains why David Hamelech started Tehillim the way he did:
He begins with the following words: Ashrei ha'ish asher lo halach ba'atzat reshaim - “How fortunate is the man who did not walk in the counsel of the wicked” (1:1).
What's this doing here?
We want to hear about great ideals, about kirvas Elokim, emunah, ahavas Hashem. And it's there; it's all there in Tehillim.
But Dovid is teaching us here that it all starts with maintaining a clean mind. You can never really say Tehillim, you can never love Hashem and sing to Him, if your walking with the resha’im and filling your mind with their ideas.
Now, it's not praising the man who just doesn't follow the advice of the wicked.
It means he didn't walk, he didn't even pace the streets together with them. Because if you walk their streets, if you are in their company, then to a certain extent, you are in “the counsel of the wicked.”
Whatever they are thinking, whatever attitudes and feelings they have, is shared by you to some extent. Even a walk down the block with them causes you to be a partner in their thoughts, their attitudes, and their emotions.
And the possuk continues: "...uvmoshav leitzim lo yashav - How fortunate is that man who never sat down in the place where the scoffers sit” [Tehillim 1:1].
Leitzim means jesters.
To sit down let's say in a kosher restaurant, but it's a place where there are other customers; leitzim, jokers, kibitzers, scoffers. Even though they're not laughing - they just came to buy kosher food - still it's a moshav leitzim.
How fortunate you are if you change your mind and decide to go home and take something from the refrigerator!
A Real Moshav Leitzim
First of all, you learn very little about whatever topic is running there.
Secondly, it was the most obvious moshav leitzim I'd ever seen. Interestingly, I don't recall anything untsnius or anything clearly forbidden. It was kosher - like kosher narishkeit. Or kosher jelly worms.
A lot of people were just there to crack jokes (regardless of the seriousness & sincerity of the questioner), and part of the reason I felt uncomfortable was because some of these people seemed to lead mechubad lives: an intelligent older frum guy with a large family and married children, plus grandchildren - and he's just shmoozing and cracking jokes?
I get that people need a break from learning, but this was just weird.
It actually makes more sense when people behave rudely online or even speak lashon hara (although both are really bad and totally forbidden) because maybe they got offended by something they read or they feel the need to say something l'toelet haAm (though they're mistaken and should look up the relevant halachot).
But these were people who could & should know better and were doing it anyway.
It's hard to explain the dynamic...just a total waste of time, a moshav leitzim...by people who really could have known better. They weren't carried away by their emotions; they were carried away by their narishkeit. Or something.
"Your desire for kirvas Elokim, will always be perceived by
Glatt Kosher Leitzanut
You can make fun of spiritually damaging things that deserve to be mocked.
Judaism is all about embracing the paradoxes in life. It's about balance and figuring out what Hashem really wants (your closeness) and how to achieve that.
As described in a previous post, we live in an upside-down world in which bad things are now considered good.
"And that's one of the most important ways of avoiding the insidious influence of the outside world.
Okay, I can't resist quoting what he says about magazines:
You have to watch out what kind of magazines come into your home.
It's very important because your wife and your children also have minds that are just as valuable and just as sensitive as yours.
You think that reading the Orthodox newspapers and magazines is not bringing the shachein rah [evil neighbor] into your home.
Of course, it's a thousand times better than gentile newspapers and television - more than a thousand times!
But that's because bringing a New York Times and the New York Post into your home is not just a shachein rah - it's bringing in adultery, and avodah zarah [idol worship], and shfichas damim [bloodshed] into your home.
You're bringing in a whole troupe of leitzim and apikorsim into your head and into the heads of your wife and children.
But even the Jewish newspapers are full of garbage.
Page after page of this and that and this and that. What about Hakodosh Boruch Hu? Oh, Him? Oh, He's put away in a different section; don't bother me about Him now.
So all of those newspapers are a shachein rah - except that instead of living next door, you invited him into your living room.
It's pretty tough mussar for those of us entrenched in Western society since birth.
But it's delicious at the same time. Nice, juicy mussar!