This is a common thread throughout Jewish history.
People get nervous when they see the Jewish community growing.
Heck, even not-terribly-committed Jews get nervous when they see Torah communities growing.
(That's why you'll have secular Jewish newspapers proclaiming predicted charedi population growth in the same tone as if a there's meteor the size of Texas headed straight for New York.)
That's why, despite minority populations (both born & immigrant) hosting really awful crime (including beheadings & other atrocities, not to mention "petty" crime), people will get persnickety about how those frum Jews in "their" neighborhood "aren't so friendly."
(Although some are perfectly sociable. But it's more fun to focus on those who aren't.)
Not that the frum Jews commit drive-by shootings targeting homes with children inside, not that they gang up on elderly men to beat them & rob them, not that a kollel guy EVER hacks ANYONE with an axe or machete, not that they raise ANY of their children to be drug-addicted feral killers by the time they're in their teens...just that those Orthodox Jews "aren't so friendly."
Yeah, who wants those types in your neighborhood? We prefer serious dysfunction as long as you grin!
Or the hysterics (including from other frum Jews) if they see a car double-parked by a frum Jew.
Of course a Torah Jew is beholden to behave with exemplary derech eretz and keep firm to the ways of peace, both when living with fellow Jews or among non-Jewish neighbors.
Torah Jews must also obey the law.
That's all fundamental halacha.
But you would think that frum Jews are walking around with ugly tattoos and committing every crime in the book the way some people respond to certain behaviors.
Believe me, even the biggest haters never say, "Oh, I don't feel safe walking through Lakewood. Maybe I should carry mace in case I ever accidentally end up there. After all, I've heard they don't give others a big smile and say hi when people jog by them. I feel like I'd be taking my life into my own hands if I got lost there."
Also, the fact that the frum Jews themselves are so self-condemning. Halavai other groups would show the same hysteria and self-denigration about the truly dysfunctional behaviors and severe crime rife among their own groups & neighborhoods.
Then there are the people who take incriminating pictures of frum areas to upload to social media with inciting captions — only to be revealed that the picture is totally innocent and that the insidious caption is a total lie.
But Rav Miller emphasizes that Hashem LOVES seeing large groups of frum Jews.
Hashem constantly counts Jews because He cherishes them so much.
It's like a person who counts his gold just for the satisfaction of seeing the lovely coins and relishing how much he has.
That's how Hashem feels about us.
The Shechinah is Here
On pages 8-10, Rav Miller fleshes out this idea.
We need to realize that the Shechinah is here NOW.
When, say, there are 10 Jews together, the Shechinah really is there resting upon them.
And all the other times we merit the Shechinah.
Re-Focus Your Focus
Yes, it's easy to get caught up in the physical discomforts (especially if, like me, you feel overwhelmed in crowds and absolutely dread lines).
But Rav Miller encourages us to focus on the pleasure of the Shechinah resting upon that crowd.
He explains that the Shechinah could rest in a sparse way (like on 10 Jews) or in an abundant way (like on 100+ Jews).
So if we're in a place with lots of Jews, the Shechinah is resting in an abundant way and if we could take a moment to try and connect with that, it's very good.
We're usually completely unaware of the Shechinah, but if we would try to connect with the idea, we might sense it at least a little bit when we're in that situation.
This also includes the increase of frum needs & equipment.
We see a whole truck coming to deliver chalav Yisrael products — that's a uniquely Jewish need.
We see frum drivers and frum people in all sorts of occupations serving our community because of the great demand & supply — a demand & supply all due to our increasing numbers.
And they're wearing beards, kippot, tzitzit out, and payos (each according to individual minhag) — in America, you couldn't do that at one time.
Even chassidim went without beards. (They used a chemical on their face, probably like today's depilatory creams, to achieve a clean-shaven look.) A Twerski told me that her grandfather was the only bearded man in a frum area when her family was first in America.
In Eretz Yisrael, the frum community has wielded many positive changes. Anywhere from a national company sending a frum person (not always, but often) to fix your whatever to a box you can check on your credit card application that prevents immodest ads being delivered to your home.
There is strength — including spiritual strength — in numbers.
And this blessing in numbers derives from the fact that a gathering of frum Jews makes a place for the Shechinah to rest in our world.
Here's Rav Miller on page 11:
We’re happy, but we should be even more happy because that’s a nachas that Hakodosh Boruch Hu is having.
He’s happy when He sees frum Jews come together because that means that He has where to rest His Presence in this world.
That's a very powerful baby-step right there.
The Shechinah isn't at the Tel Aviv Discotheque or the Israeli Soccer Game
I'm personally fine with this idea because I've learned enough to know that it is absolutely correct, but many people find it offensive.
It is clear from the Torah that Hashem does not like Jews eating pork or milk with meat or unkosher beef and so on.
And keeping Shabbat is one of the 10 Commandments.
So if a group of Jews is NOT keeping to those mitzvot, then the Shechinah of course does not rest on them.
How can it?
If a group of Jews are eating unkosher hot dogs while watching a game together on Shabbat, the Shechinah is like, "Gross! I'm outta here!"
Night clubs in certain areas might be packed with Jews, but there's no Shechinah resting upon them.
The Shechinah Comes in the Merit of Jewish Women
First of all, a frum couple gets married with a proper ceremony according to halacha.
Then the frum wife starts having children.
Because the Shechinah rests more abundantly when there is an abundance of Jews, this means that frum mothers have made & continue to make a MASSIVE contribution to the resting of the Shechinah upon Am Yisrael today.
This is what Chava meant (page 16) when she said, "Now I have acquired a man FOR Hashem."
By producing children, she created a space for the Shechinah to rest in this world.
Is the fact that Jewish women play a vital part in the increase of Am Yisrael part of the reason why the concept of Shechinah is in feminine form? I don't know. But it makes sense.
If you enjoy how Rav Miller reveals the truth behind the seemingly mundane tasks and important (yet often unappreciated) role of the Jewish mother, please read pages 14-18.
As Rav Miller explains on page 15 (emphasis mine):
Women are having children today, sometimes very large families, and they’re increasing and multiplying.
And it’s because of the zchus [merit] of these nashim tzidkaniyos [righteous women], that the Shechina is dwelling on our people today.
Things are happening today, things we never dreamed would happen in America, because the nashim are walking in the footsteps of our great Imahos.
On page 18, Rav Miller again emphasizes how important it is not to see the presence of the Shechinah as a metaphor or a form of speech.
And like all aspects of emunah, Rav Miller emphasizes how much we need to work on internalizing that beautiful concept.
Because Rav Miller was giving his shiur in front of a large group of frum Jews, he was able to say:
It’s one of the most important things to be aware of - that the Shechina is resting on our nation.
Right here, right now, the Shechina is resting over us.
Boruch Hashem, He’s here!