So it's definitely worth reading in full.
And the main point is how all sorts of unpleasant & crazy things had to happen in order to make the ultimate goal happen.
For example, says Rav Miller on page 7, if Esav never chased after Yaakov Avinu, then Yaakov never would've fled to Lavan.
And if Yaakov never ended up with Lavan, then Yitzchak Avinu would've contacted Lavan to send him a wife for Yaakov (as Avraham Avinu did for Yitzchak Avinu), and Lavan would've sent him Leah, and he would've married Leah, and that would've been it.
Rachel Imeinu, Bilha, and Zilpah would've never entered the picture.
The coat-of-many-colors fiasco would never have happened.
And so on.
And that's the big life-lesson for us.
So many heart-breaking dynamics occur.
So many people endure so many disappointments & devastating events.
Yaakov Avinu, for example, only ever wanted Rachel Imeinu, but instead he ended up with 4 wives. (Remember, Lavan pushed Leah on him, then Leah & Rachel gave him Bilha & Zilpah—he never asked for anyone except Rachel.)
Then Rachel died first, after only giving him 2 sons.
Then there was less than perfect harmony among his children.
And then Yaakov disappeared, an inconsolable loss.
And so on.
Nothing occurred the way Yaakov Avinu intended.
But wherever we are now and whether we feel satisfied or disappointed with our lives, we must remember that Hashem wove many links in the chain to get us to where we are now.
Rav Miller calls them "vuvs" because that's the Hebrew letter which means "and."
"And this happened...and then this happened...AND, gosh, this other thing happened too..."
He explains on page 12:
Every man and woman in this world – no matter who you are – must understand that there were hundreds, thousands, of vuvs in your life that brought you to where you are.
If you start looking into the histories of even the gedolim up till today – you think the gedolim were all born into families where the mothers wore long beards?
You would be surprised where they came from!
There were many vuvs that brought them to where they are today.
Especially the stuff I felt very idealistic about & went to excruciating lengths to fulfill these ideals...only to have both the chair kicked out from under me AND the carpet whisked out from under my feet, leaving me slammed down onto a hard floor.
But still meant to be, for whatever reason.
Yet it's so true that to keep your eye on the ball, you must live with the truth that Hashem orchestrates everything.
This idea also prevents toxic shame from devouring you.
Take responsibility? Yes!
Do teshuvah? Yes!
Blame & torture yourself for every single mistake & bad middah you ever acted on?
It's a bit of a paradox, but Hashem is behind everything. So while we need to work on ourselves & take responsibility for our behavior, we don't need to hate, loathe, and despise ourselves either.
Likewise, we also don't need to be too proud of ourselves.
Sure, we can take pleasure in our accomplishments.
But pride leads us down a deceptively icky road.
So if you are thin, beautiful, wealthy, happily married, healthy, and successful, you can be very happy about that. Yay!
But to feel that you are innately better & smarter than the rest of the world?
Even if it all happened because you made so many good decisions, it was Hashem Who gave you that good decision-making seichel and it was Hashem who allowed those decisions to work out well.
For example, don't we all know people who married well and lived truly happy lives—and then their spouse died young? Or developed an unexpected debilitating physical or mental illness?
See, they did everything right—but it still didn't end up so happily.
That's just one example.
So there's no place for neither self-glorification nor self-recrimination.
It's really about connecting to Hashem & what HE wants for us.
That is admittedly much harder than it sounds.
Take 2 Minutes
The truth is right now you should look back on your lives and see what happened to you.
Hakodosh Boruch Hu did things in your past, only that you don’t study it.
Did you ever take even five minutes to look back on your life and see how Hakodosh Boruch Hu connected the events in your life and brought you to where you are now?
You’re fifty years old now – did you give even five minutes, even two minutes, for fifty years?!
If you did you would see the yad Hashem in complicated ways.
Look at All Those Initially Unexplainable Links in the Chain!
I’ll tell you a little story about myself.
I was thrown out of the Hebrew school — when I was a little boy I was sent to the Hebrew school, the old time Talmud Torah, and something happened that I was thrown out.
All the other boys in the Hebrew school were good boys; they weren’t thrown out and all of them graduated at bar mitzvah and they succeeded in becoming nothings.
Nothing came of them.
But because I had some trouble, I was thrown out and I had to look for another place.
I found a private Rebbi who wanted to teach me and he made a mentch out of me.
And finally he sent me to a real yeshiva.
I look back now and I understand that it was a vuv in my life — it was the hand of Hashem that was sending me on to a career of Torah.
But to study one vuv is only scratching the surface of your life.
When I was fourteen I wanted to apply for a job in a factory.
There was very little money at home and I thought I’d help.
So when I saw an ad, “Boys Wanted,” I went downtown to the factory to take a job. And as I turned the corner I saw the man come out of the factory, take the “Help Wanted” sign off the door and take it inside.
He had hired his last boy just before I came!
I wouldn’t be sitting here tonight if I had gained that job.
When I was twenty-one, I thought, “I'm not a public speaker. I'm a bashful boy; I'm not the type to talk to people in public. I won't be able to get a rabbanus. What should I do?”
I decided I'll try to become a public school teacher. An einfal! I’ll teach in the public school.
So I went to the Board of Education and I applied.
The man sitting at the desk said, “What are you doing now?”
I said, “I'm a rabbinical student.”
He said “Go back to your business; go back.”
A goy told me to go back. I listened to him. A malach min hashamayim [an angel from Heaven].
And the only one kicked out?
And he held the uncompromising view of himself as "not a public speaker"?
"I'm not the type to talk to people in public"—SERIOUSLY? That's what he became famous for! His cassettes!
Look at all that.
On page 14, he describes how he lost a potential job to a far less qualified candidate.
How many of us have complained of the exact same situation?
That kind of thing happens a lot.
But, as Rav Miller explains there, it enabled him to go to Slabodka, where he learned how to become great.
On page 14, Rav Miller also directs the lesson toward each of us—something most of us, who've made (or are in the middle of making) big transformations in life—can relate to:
The fact that you’re here tonight instead of being someplace else is due to certain reasons.
What's the reason? Things happen in your lives.
Don’t just say, “Boruch Hashem it worked out,” and pattur [exempt] yourself. Oh no! You have to look back step by step and study.
Why aren’t you in Greenwich village right now? Why aren’t you in a basement somewhere in India smoking hashish?
And the answer is that Hakadosh Baruch Hu guided your footsteps.
You’ll find some little quirk in the history of your life that saved you. And then another one and another one.
It’s all from Hashem!
You can enjoy a life deemed successful by your society, but end up in a dreary Olam Haba.
And you can lead a very disappointing & frustrating existence here, but end up in a Paradise later.
So if you're reading Rav Miller's words, you're someone who's at least interested in all the right things.
Remember: Most people—most Jews—are not reading Rav Miller's words. They never heard of him and aren't interesting in anything he has to say anyway.
So if you're perusing his dvar Torah or any dvar Torah in preparation for Shabbat, that's really good.
And how did you get to that?
After all, it didn't have to happen.
Even if you're FFB, it didn't have to happen that you care enough to do it.
And also, the intriguing Q&A about how Yaakov Avinu benefitted from losing Yosef Hatzaddik for so many years on page 15.
Also, if you own Rav Shlomo Almoli's book Dream Interpretation from Classical Jewish Sources, it contains a translation in Appendix II of Rav Yehudah Petiyah's material relating to Parshat Miketz from Minchat Yehudah.