Living like an animal does not necessarily mean savage behavior.
It means living how bees live: automatically and carrying out vital functions by instinct.
Bees can't decide, "Oh, I don't feel like pollinating today. I'd rather watch cat videos."
A bee cannot decide to live the life of a bird nor can a bee get so hungover, it cannot show up for pollination.
Hashem could have created human beings to live like this, and we could have a very successful Olam Hazeh.
We could all go about doing automatically whatever we should be doing, and the amount of sin would descend tremendously.
However, we would miss out on Olam Haba.
Bees don't merit Olam Haba.
Olam Haba must be earned.
And Hashem wants us to have a delightful eternity.
The Meaning of Life
Hashem didn’t make you a bird or a bee after all – He gave you that very rare gift of free will, and so you have to spend some time thinking about this question.
It’s not a small question at all – you shouldn’t think it is just some idle kind of philosophical discussion that doesn’t require your attention.
Oh no, this is the question of all questions, probably the greatest question you’ll ever face: “What should I do with this tremendous responsibility?”
After all, many people have spent their lives constantly choosing wrong and they’ve failed to accomplish in this world what they’re capable of.
Women also have a Rebbetzin or a Mashpia.
Traditionally, Jewish women turned to a wiser (and usually older) female relative. They also turned to their father or husband—basically whoever was most qualified & available.
(Sori Krauz, about whom was written here: in-depth-book-review-soris-story-an-amazing-life-of-survival-faith.html, relied on her father as her incomparable rav & advisor until his death.)
But a community also works for this.
We are very influenced by our environment, for better or for worse.
Rav Miller quotes his former chevruta in Slabodka & talmid chacham, Rav Aharon Birzher, who was murdered by the Nazis along with the rest of the Jews of Kurdaneh:
The best thing is that we should have yirat Shamayim (fear of God). But in case we don't manage it, then at least we should dwell in an environment of yirat Shamayim—an environment that forces us to be good.
All these influences provide a healthy framework for us to move around within.
They prevent us from being like an aimless boat in a churning ocean.
The Loss of Positive Influences
Some aren't sure whom to choose, so Rav Miller advises to simply choose one because you can always switch later when you find someone better.
From personal experience, it's important to choose the best one possible, with the most uncompromising daat Torah & best middot.
Such a rav is getting harder to find, but truly desiring it, davening for it, and saying v'taknenu malkenu b'eitzah tovah milfanecha (found in Maariv before Shemoneh Esrei & the advice of Rav Levi Yitzchak Bender) helps achieve this.
On pages 16-17, Rav Miller briefly answers the questions so many people have on Shlomo Hamelech's marital choices.
We used to have Neviim (Prophets) to tell us—and they told us the undiluted Truth!
It came straight from Hashem, without the Navi interjecting his own views or middot into it.
And even though it was the truth straight from Hashem, people could not always handle it.
Rav Miller makes this interesting observation (page 18):
It’s interesting to know that – a black man saved the life of Yirmiyah Hanavi.
The white Jews were afraid to save him because he had enemies but along came a black fellow, a slave, and he told the king, “Look! The navi is drowning in mud!”
So the king said, “Take blankets and ropes and run to save him.”
That’s how Yirmiyahu was saved.
We’re grateful to the black people for that!
But we see that he had been put there to drown in mud.
And that's because Yirmiyah had a bitter tongue. It wasn't his tongue though – he spoke the words that Hakodosh Boruch Hu told him to speak.
Yet it told Hashem that people no longer held interest in what Hashem really wanted of them.
Listening to the Neviim could have saved them from Galut, but they'd drifted too far away at that point.
So a few older Neviim remained. But when they passed on, no one else arose to replace them.
We should at least try to understand what we lost & what we still miss today.
Don't forget to check out the Practical Tip on page 21.
And the Q&A on the last page.