For example, explains Rav Miller, a family bursting with different personalities—yet who all strive to behave with derech eretz—contribute to each other.
Each person influences another with the good point they possess which the other lacks.
Hashem created us exactly like this. No one is perfect except Hashem, Who possesses all good.
We all have something good to learn from another, to gain from another.
And everyone else has something good to learn from us, to gain from us.
We are vital to this world and the other is also vital.
On page 7, Rav Miller says:
Of course in America, it’s overlooked. It’s ignored today.
Brothers move away from each other and members of the family sometimes have very tenuous connections. They’ll call each other on the phone, they send cards before Rosh Hashana; it’s a very weak connection.
But fundamentally the plan of Hashem was that this should be one of the joys of life.
Family is one of the pleasures of life!
The old time European families who came over to America used to spend time together.
They didn’t have the tendency to go to movies. The old timers didn’t go to movies – even the irreligious ones.
I remember as a child how the families used to come together frequently and they sat for three or four hours together.
Grandfather, grandmother, the sons and the daughters, the grandchildren, little children crawling on the floor.
The house was swarming with people and that was their fun.
Today it’s boring.
“Let’s go someplace. Let’s do something.”
People begin to exchange this form of happiness for imitation happiness that you have to pay money for; today you waste money on paid entertainers or traveling; things that are sold to you as forms of happiness instead of the original ways that families used to enjoy themselves.
Remorse, Regret, and Repentance from a Place of Self-Elevation
Rav Miller emphasizes the frightening part of not doing teshuvah, which many people in our times resent hearing.
Some people may have heard it too much, accompanied by a petty or hypocritical delivery.
For others, it's too scary or simply doesn't jive with the modern culture & mentality, which has even seeped into the frummest parts of the frum world.
However, knowing that you'll have to pay for that moment of sinful pleasure exists as yet another tool in one's self-polishing toolbox.
It's meant to be used in conjunction with the idea of the reward & light & angels you create when you overcome that same inclination toward all sorts of prohibited self-indulgences.
Looking back and FEELING REMORSE does wonders for erasing the dark angels created by those mistakes.
Crying & sighing? Even better!
Certainly, one must do it with the attitude of:
How could someone as innately holy & precious & special as me have done something so out of character, so beneath my true stature?
I'm soooooo much better than that. My stunningly beautiful potential lies far above that lowly deed.
If you do it with lots of self-denigration (or, for some people, even with a tiny bit of self-denigration), then the remorse paradoxically claws you downward, and you may get even worse.
For today's generation, the Slabodka approach of focusing on the gadlut ha'adam, the greatness of a human being, is the way to go.
Every human being contains the breath of Hashem—an aspect of Divinity—within.
Every human being was created in the Image of Hashem.
We are not just mammals!
We need to look at ourselves & each other as tzelem Elokim—God's Divine Image.
If we do this, we'll treat both ourselves & others much better.
We each have something of the Divine within us—regardless of our physical, mental, or spiritual defects.
If you're Jewish, then you also possess an extra Yisrael neshamah & are a true-blue ben or bat Melech.
A delicious discourse on teshuvah runs from page 8 to page 17, with uplifting chizuk from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov on pages 16-17.
Likewise, part of doing teshuvah & preventing loss means proper efforts—safety precautions, making sensible decisions before one gets stuck in an unwanted situation, and the like. Rav Miller covers that all-important aspect hishtadlut & behaving responsibly on pages 14-16.
Credit for all quotes & material goes to Toras Avigdor.