And this involves a discussion of the Shechinah.
Probably, a lot of us wonder what "Shechinah" really means.
Here's Rav Miller describing the Shechinah in the best terms possible for human understanding (page 5-6):
Our sages (Sanhedrin 39a) give a mashal; it's like the sun shining.
It's midday and the whole world is flooded with light – not only is there an abundance of sunshine on the street but even in the homes, even when the shutters are closed, there is still light inside.
It steals through cracks in the shutters and under the door.
Now, is the light that comes through a crack in the keyhole or a shutter the same light that you'll find on the street?
No. There’s a big difference.
On the street you're directly receiving the rays of the sun.
You look up and see the sun and the rays are coming directly down upon you.
But if you're inside a house and the doors and windows are closed, so the light doesn't come in directly; it comes in through some form of radiation; the light waves come in by devious ways but it's not the same.
Similarly, the Shechinah is everywhere...
The Reality of a Frum Jewish Home
On page 9, the rav even discusses yawning in this context, with some interesting observations about when we yawn & whether it's controllable.
Then Rav Miller emphasizes the reason for Bilaam's blessing when he meant to curse Am Yisrael.
What so impressed this evil occultist when he beheld the camp of Am Yisrael?
Not the physical appearance of the tents—a far cry from palaces or villas—in which entire families slept on the ground on some kind of padding.
No, Bilaam was overcome by the spiritual holiness of the camp—the privacy-respecting arrangement of the tents, the cleanliness, the order, the behavior...
(No loud music playing, no drunken rowdiness or fights, no intermingling between genders, etc.)
That right there contains an insight on how to really best the Jew-haters:
Be your JEWISH best!
Act like a Torah Jew.
Uphold Torah ideals as best you can.
On pages 11-12, Rav Miller offers a glimpse into the powerful bond of a Jewish marriage ceremony conducted according to Torah Law:
The poor chosson, his head is not there.
At least if the mesader kiddushin, would do a chessed and whisper in his ear just before he takes out the ring and say, “Do you know what you're going to do now? You're bringing down the Shechina between you and your kallah now,” so at least the chosson can awake from his stupor and he'll try at least to think what's taking place.
I once did that – I whispered into the ear of a chosson before he put the ring on, “Think that the Shechina is coming down now.”
And that remains forever.
Not only at the chasuna. It remains forever!
They told of a certain chassidishe rebbe who used to think this way. When he looked at his wife, he imagined he saw the Shechina between him and his wife.
He worked on it. He took it seriously because it’s true!
The Shechina is always in the home of a frum married couple, as long as they live together.
It’s true, husbands and wives are different; by nature they’re entirely different, but the presence of Hashem overrides everything else.
Who cares if your wife has certain interests and you have different interests? She likes to talk, you don’t like to talk?
It makes no difference.
Both together are united in the great ideal of building a Jewish tabernacle of avodas Hashem, a place where the Shechina resides, so who cares if there are puny little differences?!
Everything is puny when it’s compared to that!
The Jewish Dining Table is a Mizbe'ach
How can we behave with anger or lack of dignity amid the Shechinah?
Rav Miller discusses keeping children off the table because it holy; it's like a mizbe'ach (altar). We eat kosher food on it, make blessings, and place siddurim & sefarim on the table.
Based on sources that say this, I also raised my children not to put their feet or sit on the table.
Once, an FFB friend watched as I told my children to get off the table, emphasizing to them that the table is like a mizbe'ach.
After they were back on the floor, she looked at me and said, "I never liked it when people would use a frum reason to tell kids not to do something the parents anyway don't want them to do. Kids sense that you're not really doing it for the mitzvah, but just using that as an excuse."
I stared at her a moment, then said, "But I really DON'T care if my kids sit on the table. The only reason I don't allow it really is because it's like a mizbe'ach."
"Oh," she said.
Some Final Words on the Matter
Imagine the kohen gadol went into the kodesh kodoshim with a little portable television in his hand.
There would be no Shechina there!
Nowadays, we'd replace the little portable television with a cell phone.
Anyway, we need to remember to improve our behavior in our homes because of what our homes really are: a mini-Mikdash.
And don't forget to check out the Practical Tip on page 15.