One would assume, knowing Yaakov Avinu, his first response would be one of gratitude & song.
But no, it was basically: "I have to go and see him while I'm still alive."
Travel proved especially grueling back then, especially for the elderly, and Egypt remained steeped in spiritual filth.
Yaakov was a spiritual man—more elevated than we can imagine.
He knew he'd seen Yosef again, at least in the World to Come.
So why his desire—before gratitude & thanks-giving—to go see his long-lost son?
Rav Miller explains the great joy at seeing his son's face would fill Yaakov Avinu with tremendous joy & gratitude toward Hashem.
And that explains Yaakov Avinu's response.
The Importance of Looking at Your Children's Faces in the Right Way
As you sit at your table on Shabbos and you’re looking around at the faces of your children; maybe everybody is talking, eating, whatever it is, so you remember what we said here.
You look at your child’s face and you’re thinking, “Ah! What a beautiful face! What a beautiful experience this is that Hashem is giving me! I love this child!"
And the next one too. “Such a sweet face – I love this child! Thank You Hashem for this gift!”
You love every one of them tremendously and it should be translated into stimulating your love of Hakodosh Boruch Hu more and more.
There’s a great happiness in seeing your children.
Even if your child is not a gadol ba’torah, but he walks b’derech ha’yashar, he’s a shomer torah u’mitzvos, it’s a tremendous happiness to see his face. If Hashem gives you normal good frum children, you should be so happy; you should enjoy them.
Enjoy them and thank Hashem every time you see them.
You enjoy the child’s face and while you’re doing it you’re thinking, “I’m not doing it merely because I want to have nachas; I’m doing it because I want to love Hakodosh Boruch Hu Who gave me this tremendous experience to see my child’s face."
Once a sight goes in there, it stays.
True, we forgot stuff; we bury stuff.
But unexpectedly, these pictorial memories can reappear when stimulated by smells, sounds, or other sights associated with these mental snapshots.
Unfortunately, people tend to misuse this facility by filling the mind with unwholesome sights & sounds.
But by making sure you look at the right things (like the faces of holy children), then you're using your sight right.
How to Look at Hashem's Creations for All Their Worth
On page 11, Rav Miller describes in colorful detail the glories of a leaf.
He even knew why leaves have irregular shapes rather than round shapes (I didn't know why!).
On pages 12-13, Rav Miller speaks of how to look at the display in a bakery window.
On pages 13-15, Rav Miller delves into the glories of everything to do with fruit, including this gem on page 15:
Last week I had a conversation with the fruit store man.
I said to him, “How did the seeds get inside this fruit?”
He looked at me like I fell off the moon.
I said to him, “Did you ever find a fruit with a nickel inside?”
So he tells me that it never happened.
He’s been selling fruit for thirty years on Kings Highway and he never found a nickel in a fruit.
So I asked him, “If you find a nickel inside the apple would you think that a person put it in there?”
He said, “Yes, I would know somebody put it in there.”
And you find a seed inside the apple – a seed is a thousand times more complicated than a nickel!
Rav Miller regularly took his children berry-picking & exploring — and used the above to make entertaining lessons for his children.
We can also do this for ourselves and others.