Parshat Korach 2: Your Mind is Forever
And it's a real geshmakeh doozy.
Rav Miller describes aspects of Gehinnom, sheds light on strange stories from the Gemara (like raising Bilam from dead to talk to him and the conversations of 2 dead girls in a cemetery), and delves into the importance of doing teshuvah NOW.
Even if you think you can't keep up a better behavior, try anyway. Whatever you do is really, really good.
And as always, Rav Miller fights the good fight against the tsunami of anti-Torah culture:
There’s a whole outside world of gentiles and secular Jews, and every second, their sewage is pouring into our world.
And therefore we have to stand guard day and night over our minds.
Think about how unequal of a contest this is.
Because how much yiras shomayim are we really pouring into our minds day and night?
How many exhortations to tzniyus are your wives hearing from the novels they read?
How many Torah ideals are you hearing on the radio?
How much do English teachers in the yeshiva high schools urge the boy to become great talmidei chachomim and to spend their free time studying Torah?
How many billboards do you see warning you to be careful with lashon hora, and urging you to do chesed and mitzvos?
All you see is the opposite.
Even listening to right-wing conservative religious pundits or reading their articles is a problem. Maybe you need it for something in particular l'to'elet. But despite their good intentions, these pundits have been very influenced by Leftist values.
Nowadays, even Right-wing conservative religious pundits dress like cocktail waitresses (if they're women), encourage mechanisms to prevent pregnancy in pre-marital relationships rather than encouraging abstinence until marriage, cuss like sailors, and other behaviors that would've been considered indecent even by liberals in our grandparents' time.
Not to mention the Jew-hatred at the edges of the conservative religious Right.
With the Leftist hatred of God-based morality in general and its anti-Israel stance, plus its love of fake science, the Left has always been a force against the Jewish people.
But the Right also has its bigots. And many on the Right cannot accept that church-attendees did not replace the Jewish People as the Am Segulah and cannot differentiate between the profoundly assimilated Erev Rav-esque Jews (who muck around in Leftist garbage) and the genuinely searching or committed Jews.
So we need to guard our minds.
As Rav Miller continues:
The outside world is pouring in all types of filth and we’re not pouring kedusha into ourselves, it’s a very unfair contest.
But even if we would be pouring into ourselves Torah and yiras shomayim day and night...All day long you’re cramming your head with Chovos Halevavos [Duties of the Heart].
It’s a good thing by the way - even one drop is a good medicine.
But if at the same time the sewage is pouring in too, then what good is it?
You have the best wine, the most expensive wine, and you pour it into a cup that’s filthy with mud, a cup that’s crawling with bacteria and worms, so what kind of taste will it have?
"To create a mind, that’s our job in life. And that’s the most important business we can do in this world."
Let's get to work creating wonderful minds for ourselves!
Parshat Chukat: The Reality of the Next World
He talks about tumah, defilement of the mind.
Then he elucidates one of those Gemaras (Brachot 44a) that apikorsim and Jew-haters love to hold up as an example of Talmudic weirdness and impropriety.
As usual, there are layers of meaning beneath the surface.
People who insist on taking such Gemaras at face-value are either ignorant or looking for excuses for their apikorsut.
Either way, it's only something that really dumb and disingenuous people do.
And Rav Miller draws the curtain aside to show us what's really going on behind the scenes.
Clarification: Not understanding the Gemara is fine. That's honest. Yeah, I also didn't know anything about the underlying meaning of all that fruit-eating until Rav Miller explained it. But using the superficial translation of it to fuel Jew-hatred or apikorsut indicates a dumb and disingenuous person. That's all.
And even our seemingly This-World yearnings derive from a deeper source in the soul.
Rav Miller says:
Or let's say you're standing on a country road, and you look down the road and it's winding down for miles and miles.
And you're thinking, “I'd like to travel on this road, to see what's doing at the other end.”
That yearning is real!
That yearning for travel, “I'd like to go and travel down this winding road,” should be a symbol for us.
"Because there is a road, a true road to happiness. The road to Olam Habah is the winding road without any deceptions."
Hakodosh Boruch Hu is not deceiving us.
The road of your life leads somewhere.
Our life is a road that leads to a much greater destination than any other road.
All the pleasures of this world: extravagant weddings, continental breakfasts, chocolate cake and a shluf on Shabbos, a sparkling home, scrumptious food...these are just allegories for Olam Haba to make us yearn for a good portion in Olam Haba and to motivate us to do what we must to get there.
Focusing on Olam Haba creates joy and prevents suicide and all sorts of problems.
A person focused on utilizing This World for the Next remains silent in the face of anger, criticism, and foolishness - including when they come from one's own spouse.
But we need to talk about it a lot.
Once, after Rav Miller mentioned Olam Haba in several lectures, a man burst out: “What's this that you're mentioning Olam Habah, Olam Habah. You sound like a little girl.”
What a humiliating way to speak to a talmid chacham.
But Rav Miller just kept on going with what he knew was right.
This dvar Torah also presents ways to inculcate a desire for Olam Haba in children, whether you're a teacher or a parent.
"Be a propagandist for Hakodosh Boruch Hu."
So if you want a better understanding of an unfathomable aspect of Torah, this dvar Torah is worth a good solid perusal.