Using vivid conversational detail, the first 4 pages provide a compelling description of the conquest of powerful Moav by the Emorite king Sichon.
But as always, the Torah comprises layers of lessons for us.
And the lesson within King Sichon's conquest of the Moavite city of Cheshbon (which in turn was conquered by Am Yisrael) exhorts us to take stock of our own life.
How to Live with Thought
Live with thought!
That’s what Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants from us. Don’t live aimlessly.
Don’t get up in the morning and just repeat your routine without any thought.
Instead you're going to plan your life.
Look back and measure your days, did your life live up to your aspirations?
And what can you do with the remainder of these days, these precious days that Hakodosh Boruch Hu gives you in this world, to achieve something?
How can you get the most out of your life?
- What did I do when I got up in the morning?
- Did I say modeh ani with kavanah?
- When I washed my hands in the morning, did I wash them with kavanah like the kohen did before he began his avodah?
- When I made the bracha of malbish arumim, was I happy with my garments?
- Am I fulfilling my duty to my employer?
- To my employees?
- Do I guard my tongue?
- Do I pay my debts?
- Do I shave with a razor?
- Do I carry on Shabbos?
- "If you’re a yeshiva man, so you don’t shave with a razor or carry on Shabbos of course, but do you learn on Shabbos?"
- What am I doing on those long Shabbat afternoons?
And the bigger questions as mentioned in the blockquote above:
- Did your life live up to your aspirations?
- Why not?
- And what can you do with the remainder of these precious days from Hakadosh Baruch Hu to achieve something?
- How can you get the most out of your life?
On page 10, Rav Miller recalls thoughtful non-Jews who did this on their own, like Benjamin Franklin.
Taking stock of your life & creating a self-improvement program is a sensible thing to do, and you needn't be Jewish to think of it or do it.
Wake Yourself Up before the Big Wake-Up Call Comes
We often don't think about it with any depth.
He also paints a picture of what it will be like in the World to Come, when we'll be enjoying the reward for our efforts—but in full view will also be the reward others receive for their efforts.
He describes the envy of that. Because it's non-physical, we can't completely envision it, but Rav Miller does an excellent job of bringing it to life.
In short, it's our inner work that counts.
The impression we make on our society & how much we embrace the current cultural expectations & mores?
They don't matter.
As Rav Miller explains:
And so, you’re going to find that many frum Jews will one day discover that this little yiddeleh, a quiet neighbor, the one who sits in the back of the shul, or a simple woman down the block, is way on top and they’re way at the bottom.
Because who knows how much cheshbon a person is making?!
It could very well be that very many ordinary people who understand what it means bo’u cheshbon have found great favor in the eyes of Hashem.
Credit for all material & quotes goes to Toras Avigdor—Authentic Torah Thought for Life.