Try thinking about Hakadosh Baruch Hu for one minute straight...Think Hashem loves you. "Ahavti etchem ne'um Hashem" -- "I love you," says Hashem.
Do you think about that ever? Do you ever stop to think that Hashem loves you?
He loves you a thousand more times than your mother loves you and you never thought about it?!
You never once thought that Hashem loves you immensely, infinitely?!
That's a wonderful thing to think about in your one-minute excursion into solitude, your minute of being alone with Hashem in your thoughts.
So you're thinking..."Hashem, I know You're right here with me and that you're listening to me. You love me more than I can imagine. You love me more than my mother loves me, more than my father, more than my friends love me. You're taking care of me, everything You do to me is for the best and I love you too!"
Rav Shalom Arush? Rebbe Nachman? The Baal Shem Tov?
Nope! It's all a direct quote from Rav Avigdor Miller.
And there's a lot more where that came from. (Also, this uncompromisingly Litvish rav emphasizes the Baal Shem Tov as an example to follow in this dvar Torah -- Am echad, lev echad, one Nation, one heart.)
If you want to see the above inside, plus read more about hitbodedut & talking to Hashem with a Slabodka Litvish flavor, then please see Rav Miller's dvar Torah on Parshat Shemot: A Life Apart. (All quotes used with permission.)
Rav Miller possessed a unique wit that was dry, wry, and slipped in with brilliantly poker-faced manner. And if you're into that kind of wit and tongue-in-cheek humor, then it makes his mussar much more fun to swallow.
Here's an example of Rav Miller's makes-you-chuckle-out-loud wit from the same dvar Torah:
Ask Hashem that He should help you with everything:
“I am going for a walk, Hashem. Please help me I should succeed in gaining good health, and that I shouldn’t have any difficulties with rude people that bump into me. And while they are 'bumping into me,' they put their hand in my back pocket and take out my wallet."
But really, he's giving us mussar about not wasting our time with mundane thoughts or gazing around at things we shouldn't. He's telling us that even a walk needs siyata d'Shmaya (especially if there are pickpockets around). He's reminding us to think about Hashem constantly.
But he makes us laugh as he does it.
A Woman's Kitchen: On the Level of the Baal Shem Tov's Forest or the Novardoker's Holy Hut - If She Wants It To Be
When a woman is by herself in the kitchen, it’s a glorious opportunity.
Do you know what she’s doing?
She’s practicing one of the biggest virtues, the virtue of hisbodedus, solitude.
The old nevi’im, the old prophets, used to go out in the wilderness.
Even the gedolei acharonim, the Ba’al Shem Tov, went into a forest for weeks to be away from people.
Rav Yoizel Novardoker had a hut hidden in the forest. He had two huts. One that his wife knew about. He was unlisted. Nobody knew how to get him, but his wife knew. But there was another hut that even his wife didn’t know about. Only his talmid, Rav Yoel Boronsik, knew about that hut, the second one. Even his wife wasn’t told about that one.
He had two degrees of hisbodedus because that makes a man great.
A woman in a kitchen, all day long she’s alone. All day she has an opportunity. She can listen to Torah tapes. She can think noble thoughts.
It’s a great thing for a woman to be alone if you utilize it properly.
He's taking the extreme example because this is something looked down on in society, something many women want to escape.
Yet Rav Miller sees this as an opportunity for the highest greatness.
Now let's look at something else many people want to escape...
How to Do Hitbodedut amid Raucous Music
But Rav Miller has a positive take on it.
He thinks you should use that opportunity to talk to Hashem. Seriously!
He advises you to use that opportunity to ask Hashem to bless the new couple with all sorts of good wishes.
He recommends davening amid the overpowering music in the following way:
You could say it with your mind and nobody's listening.
But even better, you can say it with your mouth - the music is so loud, nobody will hear you.
They think you're singing along.
I hope I can work up the guts to actually try it...
- Would You Choose Uncle Harry to be Your Rebbe?
- Moshe Rabbeinu Doesn't Need the Movies
- Getting Your Mind Cleaned at the Dentist
- Great Men Skip Shul
- It's Good to be a Hypocrite
So you end up getting some pretty heavy mussar, but it doesn't feel so heavy because you're chuckling through the entire thing.
Hashem Wants More Than Ordinariness
Now, I know people will listen to me and they will just dismiss these ideas. They think that it's a middas chassidus, it's something that only very great people should do.
But that's wrong.
Don't think that what we're saying here is going overboard.
Just because ordinary people will often live like they do with hesech hada'as; they daven as ordinary people daven and mostly their minds are occupied with ordinary things, doesn't means that you have to do the same.
Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants more than ordinariness.
He wants you to be close to Him because those who are far away from Him will eventually go lost. And even though you seem to be a shomer mitzvos, but actually you're far away from Him if your mind doesn't concentrate on Him, if you're not living with Him in your mind.
And therefore, as much as possible you spend time talking to Hashem.
Also, if you wanted to know more about a certain someone, you can see:
Rav Miller on Yoshkeh