The Rambam says like this: “Although you might be surprised that I say this,” that’s how the Rambam starts, “but the mitzvah of animal sacrifice is only a form of appeasing the people, so that they shouldn’t feel deprived.”
Because the people were accustomed to seeing such things being done by all the umos ha’olam - all the ovdei avodah zarah would serve their gods by bringing gifts of food to appease their hungry gods - so the Am Yisroel wanted to do the same.
Parshas Pinchas 2 – True Knowledge and Sacrifice
And why is Hashem described throughout the Torah is such a material way? He gets angry, jealous, has hands, eyes, etc.
It's all in that dvar Torah too.
And what's the most important part of any bracha? The word "Atah-You."
Here it is:
The single most important kavanah is the word Atah – that you're talking to Somebody!
The Mesilas Yesharim says you should picture Hakodosh Boruch Hu standing in front of you. He’s paying attention, “Yes, my child, what are you saying?”
He’s listening to you. Oh! Hashem is listening to us! He’s real!
And therefore the first and most important attitude required for making a bracha is not the peirush hamilos [meaning of the words], but the attitude of "Atah Hashem" – "You Hashem; there’s really somebody listening.”
Here's another dvar Torah on Parshat Pinchas from Rav Miller:
Parshas Pinchas – A Career of Seeing Hashem
Parshat Matot: Mind-Blowing Social Commentary
Last year's dvar Torah is available here, when the parshas were together: Parshas Mattos Massai – The End of the Evildoers
Rav Miller explains the concept of positive revenge in the Torah, expresses his opinion of certain aspects of society and revisits some painful situations, like the murder of Yankel Rosenbaum and the Jewish boys who got hammered and then their murderers set free because "The courtroom is not a place of revenge."
But it also contains material that make your heart happy, like this:
You have to understand now, what the word hallel means. It says "Amarti laholelim, 'Al taholu' - I said to the wild ones, 'Don't be wild, don't be too excited' ” (Tehillim 75:5).
The word hallel doesn't mean “praise”; it means to go wild with excitement! That's what hallel means, wild. And hallelu-yah means to go wild with excitement about Hashem; to be excited about the true greatness of Hashem.
I sure didn't.
We need to remember that next time we say Psukei D'Zimra or Tikkun Haklali. Or Hallel!
He also discusses Elizabeth Taylor's 3rd husband, a Jewish guy name Avrom Hersch Goldbogen who changed his name to Mike Todd.
He apparently got blown or thrown out of his plane in mid-flight.
And it was reported how they always report these things, but Rav Miller says like this:
If we had real Torah newspapers, it would be big headlines.
Front page headlines:
“Hakodosh Boruch Hu Throws Mike Todd Out Of His Airplane.”
Here's more about how to disregard all media, including frum media:
You have to disregard the propaganda of the newspapers, and ignore the foolish ranting of people, and instead, pay attention to what you see and hear - with your own eyes and your
Then you're going to see the punishment that Hashem brings upon wicked. But you have to look!
You won't be able to take even the tiniest step forward if you're looking through the eyes of the the New York Times or the New York Post.
Even the frum newspapers aren't going to help you when it comes to seeing the ways of Hashem in this world. You're going to have to do the work with your own eyes....I do it myself.
You know, I make it my business, year after year, to “keep the yartzeit” of Mike Todd.
I tell everybody about the news. Maybe you don't want to hear about Hashem showing His ways in the world, but I'm not going to forget. I'm going to look at the shilumat reshaim [pay-back for the wicked] and grow in da’as Hashem.
Also, Rav Miller mentions a Jewish newspaper that I don't know if it's still around but he sums it up as: "a newspaper for the people who are interested in a long stay in Gehenim."
I can actually think of another couple of newspapers that might fit that description...
(Tongue-in-cheek Trigger Warning: I never liked the Beatles, except for maybe 2 songs, so it didn't bother me to read daas Torah on John Lennon, but maybe fans should proceed with caution. Imagine all the sheeple...)
Well, the truth is the truth.
And I enjoy every word of Rav Miller.
And as we talk about the nachas we get from seeing wicked people get what's coming to them, Rav Miller reminds us that we're not happy to see regular people punished:
Now when we say the wicked in Gehenim, we're not talking about Jews who made some errors, they made mistakes, they sinned a little bit, and they're in Gehenim temporarily.
We're not happy about our fellow Jews’ suffering.
We're waiting for them to get out, we pray for them.
They're going to get out eventually and they're going to sit together with all the tzaddikim.
Anyway, if you want to read a very honest daas Torah viewpoint of Heavenly revenge against the wicked and what all that means, then this dvar Torah is the one for you.
Thank you to Toras Avigdor for everything.
P.S. You can now get Rav Miller's weekly parsha delivered to your inbox in Yiddish, English, easy-print, and Junior for kids.