Rav Miller: Understanding Misfortune and Tragedy


rmiller3Question: Why must Hashem reprimand people by conditions of misfortune?

Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l: The answer is, it’s in the hands of men. If when peace is in the world, like now, everyone utilized the opportunity to express his enthusiastic gratitude to Hashem, then nothing else is needed.

It’s because they keep quiet when things are good and they forget, then Hakadosh Baruch Hu has to remind them. Otherwise nothing would happen that would be a misfortune to the world. It’s only when people neglect to utilize Sholom; this is now Sholom. Everyday we ask Hashem for Sholom. But you have it now!

In Eretz Yisroel there is Sholom now, are they shouting to Hashem in happiness? Remember you were all wearing gas masks not long ago? Everybody had a gas mask. You were frightened! Many didn’t cry out to Hashem, only a few. But now they took off the gas masks. Hashem says, you forgot Me again, maybe Chalila I have to send some more gas masks on you again to remind you? And therefore any misfortune is just a reminder that we failed to cry out when things were going well, and right now things are going well.
Oh, there’s a recession, there’s this, there’s that, we’re in Galus. Look, today we have more luxuries than any generation ever had before. You have to appreciate that, you have to be grateful for them. Did you eat a big breakfast? Or even a small breakfast? You have to be grateful to Hashem. Eat a lunch? You have to thank Hashem. A supper? You have to thank Hashem.

You have a warm house, you come home and it’s not cold. Summer time it’s air conditioned. All these are luxuries, and we are Mechuyav (obligated) to thank Hashem at all times.

You’re well? Nothing is wrong with you right now? Sometimes one little thing happens to remind you, a finger, an ear, an eye, small things once in a while. It’s just to remind you. Why were you quiet when nothing was wrong with you? And therefore Hakadosh Baruch Hu is really bestowing a benefit on us in His great benevolence, to wake us up from our sleep. Because we are missing the whole purpose of being in this world; which is, the purpose of becoming aware of Hashem.

{Reprinted from the A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller email.}

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  1. Yes, yes. The other night I heard a tape of a truly amazing hashkafa schmuez on the tragedy from Rav Yaakov Shapiro, a talmid of Rav Miller ztz”l, who expounded on this theme. He said a truly amazing, original explanation of the Tochacha — tachas asher lo avadita Hashem b’simcha — it doesn’t mean Hashem is punishing because you didn’t serve Him b’simcha, but it means that Hashem wants us to serve Him for our sakes, so we have a chance to serve Him b’simcha m’rov kol. If we don’t, then Hashem will bring the tochacha and you’ll see how fast people start doing teshuva and serving Hashem. Tachas asher lo avadita b’simcha, now it will be avadita b’yesurim. He said even if we don’t know always what message Hashem is sending us but we know the message that we are sending Him, and we dare not send Him the message that we only get better when He sends suffering! We want to show Hashem that we become better because of all the good things Hashem sends us. Please listen to this Shiur, where he describes Rav Miller ztz”l’s amazing Midah of Hakaras Hatov!! We must show Hashem we appreciate when things are good for us!! Stop the tragedies!!