Rav Avigdor Miller on Peeking into the Chofetz Chaim’s Living Room

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Q:
The Rav said that we shouldn’t be reading the magazines and periodicals. So what should girls be reading already?! 

A:
Boruch Hashem, there is no lack of good reading material. There are translations of so many seforim. If you can’t read the Mesillas Yesharim in the original, then read it in English. Sha’arei Teshuva and Chovas Ha’levavos as well. Read them. You have to know that there is such a great value in these seforim that it lasts forever. Forever and ever. Your mind becomes changed. You acquire a new mind. A mind of da’as Hashem.

I can guarantee you that one reading of the Mesillas Yesharim leaves you over a different personality. If you do it twice then you’re not the same person anymore. And therefore, even if you want to read things that are easier to read, there are so many good things to read. Sipurei tzadikim! Sipurei tzadikim are very important. Read about the lives of the righteous. They are our models. Read about the Chofetz Chaim – how he lived. How he practiced the ideals of bein adam la’chaveiro and avodas Hashem.

I’ll give you one little example. Once a person peeked through the keyhole into the Chofetz Chaim’s room. He shouldn’t have done it, but he peeked through the keyhole to see what the Chofetz Chaim was doing. He saw the Chofetz Chaim sitting on his bed holding a chumash. He was reading through the Makkos. And he was saying, “Ahh! Gut oif em. Gut oif em!” When he read in the chumash how the Makkos came on Pharaoh, he said, “Gut oif em – Good for him!” That was the Chofetz Chaim. Now, he knew the story already from when he was a little boy. He was an old man already. But he was an old man trying to get more and more אמונה חושית. To feel it.

He was sitting on his bed. An old man with a chumash. Here was a man who wrote many chiburim. He was a gadol ba’torah. He wrote seforim on Kodshim. He wrote the ליקוטי הלכות. Those who learn Kodshim, learn his ליקוטי הלכות.  Nevertheless, he saw that it was worthwhile to sit with a chumash and say, דם! Ahh, דם!  Gut oif zei. Gut oif zei.” Good for them! He was enjoying the מכות that came on מצרים. Even though the malachim were not allowed to enjoy it: מעשה ידי טובעים בים ואתם אומרים שירה (Megillah 10b) Hashem said to the malachim, “Don’t enjoy what I’m doing to the Egyptians.” But, אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל. You, Bnei Yisroel, have to enjoy it. Make sure to enjoy it. Moshe should sing. You have to enjoy the מכות . So when you learn about the מכות, you enjoy it because that brings you to דעת השם.  You should say, “What a pleasure it was to see them go down into the Yam Suf!” And therefore, there is a great deal to think about. There are so many good things to read. And you benefit by that. Things that will change you and you become a different personality. So why waste your time with reading other foolishness?

TAPE #E-182 (March 1999)