He delves into the meaning behind the famous story of Hashem going to the other nations and offering the Torah.
It's not literal, of course. And Rav Miller explains what was really going on.
He also explains the Gemara referring to the nations' protestations at the End of Days, when the nations will complain, "Oh, but You didn't FORCE us to keep Torah like you did with Am Yisrael! So how can you blame us?" And what all that means and how Hashem responds.
Rav Miller goes through different cultures throughout history, which I love reading.
In my youth, I was even intrigued by the differences between Americans & Canadians.
I studied anthropology (the study of cultures) in college and still maintain a fascination for other cultures, which is yet another reason why I love living in Eretz Yisrael. It's a different culture that I get to "study." And there are so many different cultures of Jews here! I'm even married to a different kind of Jew! (My husband is Moroccan-Israeli while I'm Ashkenazi-American.)
Just in our apartment building, we've got 4 different kinds of Chassidus, 2 different kinds of Litvish, 3 different kinds of Sephardi, plus different nationalities — this is tremendous fun for someone with an anthropological bent.
But to get back to the point...
A Detour into the Fascinating Topic of Anthropology
And that's that some cultures' values are wonky, or even extremely repellent & immoral.
The anthropologists who settle down to live among the objects of their study tend to romanticize their subjects. They end up viewing them with more amusement or positivity than the culture actually deserves.
My professor himself went to live among the natives of Alaska and developed a great fondness for them. I must admit that seeing how real multigenerational-family igloos operate was pretty cool. And it was funny hearing his stories of his own adjustment to living with them.
But some of the books we had to read, books that were the culmination of years of intimate observation & involvement in tribes of the Amazon jungle or the African plains, held some very disturbing information.
In short, some cultures hold very different values, including some very ugly ones.
In another phase, I started reading what's known as "captivity narratives," which are about white people captured by various Native American tribes.
Initially, I'd read a book about colonial American women written by a white liberal female professor (of course!) and she whitewashed the real behavior of Native American abductors by plucking out the more civilized anecdotes for her book.
I had no idea that her compassionate and fastidious Native captors were actually the exception and not the rule.
The red-haired Mary Jemison is the most famous of the Native Americans' white captives. Her real story, as chronicled in the 19th century (found online), shows extreme savagery as part of her adopted tribe's tradition. Yes, she chose to stay with the Senecas and liked them, but she also needed to lower her standards to accept the extreme brutality and atrocity admired in her adopted tribe — including that of her second husband. (Although she stressed that he never treated her personally with any such cruelty.)
She was even kind of proud of her second husband's heartlessness because she adopted the Seneca attitude that unmerciful cruelty toward the most helpless and innocent is somehow manly and heroic.
Another narrative involved the capture of a pregnant white pioneer. She suffered terribly and eventually returned to her people, traumatized for life.
I found myself skipping entire sections of the narratives due to the extreme brutality of the tribes, making the sections too disturbing to read.
(Without going into detail, their treatment of captives, including children & babies, sometimes did not differ much from the way the Nazis treated the Jews.)
And lest you think that the tribes only behaved that way because of those who think that the white people started it first, please know that these horrific "traditions" preceded the white arrival. Meaning that previously, the Native Americans carried out these horrific rituals on captives from other tribes.
In other words, their treatment of white captives was simply a continuation of their traditional treatment of captives and not something learned from or incited by white mistreatment of Native Americans.
The point is that in society at large, there is a massive romanticization & justification of different cultures, both present-day and in our past.
But Hashem sees the truth.
And He chose us.
How Can We Fight Darkness Today? There's So Much of It!
Okay, we were never perfect.
(Had we been, Mashiach would've come long before.)
But we simply aren't as bad, generally speaking, as the surrounding nations.
Rav Miller goes into this at length, and he is sometimes very sharp about it (which I greatly enjoy) in this dvar Torah.
For example, in addition to his knowledge of history, Rav Miller himself lived in Lithuania (while attending the Slabodka yeshivah) and describes Lithuanian culture of that time.
Who knew that a young Rav Miller was ready to rumble with a drunken Lithuanian who called him a dirty Jew? Fortunately, Rav Miller's yeshivah friends saved him. Rav Miller the American Yeshivah Bachur didn't know that Lithuanians always kept a knife in their boot.
Even now, most of our dysfunction infiltrated from the influence of our surrounding environment; it's not innate to us.
In fact, most of the Jews who get so outraged by Jewish dysfunction (REAL dysfunction, I mean, and not political incorrectness) are outraged BECAUSE they're Jewish. Meaning, because their Jewish hearts cannot stand injustice. (There's also often a bit of hypocrisy and projection mixed in there too; nonetheless, there's no denying that we are the original Nation of: "Tzedek, tzedek tirdof — Justice, justice, thou shalt pursue.")
And there is still a lot of good to say about us, despite all the dysfunction & the problems.
You can't fight darkness with more darkness.
To fight darkness, you need light.
Rav Miller ends with the reassurance that if we take a baby-step toward Hashem by making an opening as minuscule as the eye of a needle, He'll expand it for us like a grand entrance and shine His Light on us.