It makes their lessons more tangible.
So Rav Avigdor Miller on Parshat Lech-Lecha:The Childless Righteous starts off by emphasizing Avraham Avinu's prestige in his time.
Avraham Avinu was rich in livestock, gold, and silver - all the best wealth of ancient Mesopotamia.
He was both famous & respected. In Hilchot Avodah Zarah 1:3, the Rambam states that Avraham Avinu spoke before large audiences; eventually, 10,000 gathered around him.
Rav Miller also states that ancient Greek historians claimed that Avraham Avinu taught mathematics & astronomy (not astrology) to the Egyptian priests. Josephus quotes ancient sources, which state that Avraham Avinu even composed books, only one of which is known today.
Together, Avraham Avinu & Sara Imeinu cultivated an ideal marriage and because of everything they managed to achieve together, Rav Miller describes them as "one of the most successful husband and wife conglomerates who ever lived."
Yet all they ever wanted was a child.
Why are Jews So Often Compared to Grapevines or Olives?
They needed all those decades to pray.
Rav Miller explains (page 7):
But when some situation comes up and we respond by turning to Hashem with urgency and desperation, then the benefit we gain thereby is extremely great – that’s when Awareness of Hashem becomes seared into our minds.
There’s no question that when people are mispallel with sincerity it causes them to have more Awareness of Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
Needless to say, Judaism's first Jews were already very special & spiritually elevated people.
But just like pressing grapes or olives brings out their most precious aspects, Hashem wanted to wring out every last drop of the superior qualities of Avraham Avinu & Sara Imeinu.
He needed that every drop of that material in order to create a very special Nation.
(Which is the deep & primary reason they wanted a child.)
Paradoxical Truth: Your Lowest & Bitterest Moment was Also Your Most Successful
A better medication?
Perhaps I should try the newest self-help guru?
Maybe I should check my mezuzahs!
Maybe I should also give tzedakah...
Rav Miller agrees that spiritual efforts, like checking mezuzahs & giving tzedakah, are very good efforts.
We SHOULD do them.
But what else does Hashem really want?
Rav Miller states (page 10 - emphasis mine):
But among everything, what He chiefly desires is that you should cry out.
Not once and not twice; over and over again you should cry out with all your heart.
Pour out your heart to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
And that's going to be a success that Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants for you.
And if subsequently He grants your request and you're redeemed from your tribulations, and from then on you live a tranquil life, don't think that now you’ve achieved the purpose of life – to live successfully and happily.
No; your success was already achieved when you were in the midst of the tzarah and you called out to Hashem.
And the more you called out, the more you thought about Hashem, the more successful you are.
The answer lies on pages 10 & 11 of this dvar Torah booklet.
(Sorry, it's too much for me to sum up here. Very fascinating & worthwhile reading, however!)
Is This Breslov Chassidus or Litvish Slabodka? I Can No Longer Tell the Difference!
- bake a cake
- buy a new fridge
- drive to work
- put ointment on a cut
Bring Hashem into everything you do.
Guess who said the following?:
When a man utilizes his misfortunes, not merely suffer like a like a stone, like a tree, but he reacts, he reacts with emunah, and he prays and prays and prays, and he pours out his heart more and more, then this man should know he’s gaining the most out of life.
Rav Avigdor Miller (page 15).
Rav Miller stresses that Hashem WANTS you to do this. You're not bothering Him.
In conclusion (page 15):
If you think about Hashem one minute a day you’re already great.
If you do it more frequently then you're an exceptional person!
Try it. Right now.
Don't postpone; it’s an opportunity.
And if it becomes part of our daily program, it means that we are embarked on a career of coming closer and closer to Hashem.