Tisha B'Av: Mourning for Our Perfection
But what jumped out at me was a brief comment Rav Miller made regarding the shift he made over the years of giving the class.
On page 8, Rav Miller notes that initially, his lecture's attendees consisted of the adult children of non-frum parents.
Therefore, he couldn't do more than mention the mitzvah of honoring parents because "who knows what their parent will tell them to do?"
Honoring non-frum parents is a thorny task and sincere baalei teshuvah find themselves with many questions to maneuver this minefield.
Sure, some secular parents go out of their way to accommodate their frum children and grandchildren, making it much easier to honor them.
But others are more of a challenge.
Anyway, despite the enormous importance of this mitzvah and Rav Miller's vast knowledge of it, he decided it was too much of a stumbling block for that particular group, so he focused on other aspects of Torah.
This is the sign of a real chacham (wise man) & someone who really cares.
Rav Miller made himself aware of the composition of this particular audience & tailored his message to best suit their needs.
It's Still a Big Favor Even If We didn't Ask for It.
In recent years, abortion is increasingly portrayed as an act of compassion upon the unborn child who may be born into a difficult situation.
In the Eighties, syndicated advice columns published letters from people who described a traumatic childhood and concluded with the heartfelt wish that their parents had aborted them.
Unfortunately, those testimonies were compelling propaganda for my generation.
Rav Miller notes that many parents also capitulate to that idea ("I didn't ask to be born!"), as if they owe their children.
It's true that parents should bring up their children well — and this means raising them in a way that gains them the best Olam Haba possible.
Also, every soul comes into the world with certain tikkun (rectifications) to complete.
As the Pele Yoetz advises, training children to focus on what makes Hashem happy must be a major part of chinuch.
So if a parent "owes" a child something, it's guiding them on the path of being a joyful Jew.
("Jew" meaning someone fully committed to Torah & mitzvot, not just a slap-happy assimilationist.)
Try This 1 Baby-Step
These verses plead with Hashem to bring back the Beit Hamikdash so we can serve him like days of old.
Try your best to say it with a pang in your heart.
Essential Reading for Tisha B'Av & Rav Miller's Answer about Aliyah
On the very last page, Rav Miller offers food for thought regarding whether one should make aliyah to Eretz Yisrael.