Rav Avigdor Miller on Torah Jews and Lunatics

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Q: 
 If being a Torah Jew is so enjoyable, why are there so few Torah Jews? 

A:
Let me ask you something, a parallel question. You know, it’s enjoyable to have good health. And it’s possible to have good health. So why are so few people availing themselves of opportunity to having good health? You know, if every day you would take a brisk forty-five minute walk, and if you would eat your meals on time every time, and go to sleep on time every day, you would be a healthy and happy person. You should drink a glass of water every morning before davening, and be careful to avoid sugar and sweets; don’t overeat!

You know, it’s possible to live a happy life! So why are there so many lunatics? You see them coming out of the cake stores, bakeries, carrying big paper boxes full of cakes. It’s poison. Pastries with icing. Why are there a world full of so many lunatics? You can see the evidence on every block. Liquor stores everywhere. A liquor store is a sign that there are crazy people in the world. You need liquor like you need a hole in your shoe. So why are there so many liquor stores?

And the answer is that the world is throwing away opportunities for living happy lives. If they would smash the television and they would go out every day in the fresh air, around the block a few times, it would give them a different kind of a hold on life. Their eyes would sparkle, their cheeks would be red. They’d go to sleep early and get up early. They’d be living a life of happiness.

The truth is, happiness is available. I didn’t outline it yet. I’d be happy to speak about it more some other time. But there’s a great deal of joy in this world that the vast majority of mankind hasn’t even begun to tap! There’s so much happiness; enjoying the weather, enjoying the zest of the wind, enjoying the slap of the rain on your face. Enjoying the sunshine, taking a pleasure in the winter and the summer. There’s so much fun in the seasons! If you learn how to taste each season you’ll find that each season has its own savor. And you’ll look forward to the zest of winter. You look forward to the delicious quality of summer. You look forward to spring and to autumn. There should be a song in your mind for every month. Every month is its own song! There’s a song, “Achta liba august”- a German song. Achta liba august; ah, the lovely August. But you could sing the same about every month. There’s a song, “There’s Nothing Like a Day in September.” There’s a song like that. There’s another song, “October.” If you learn all these songs, you’ll be singing your own songs, “How beautiful is January,” and “How wonderful is February.” We have to learn how to enjoy life. You know that it’s a big chochma to learn how to enjoy life.

Now there are a lot of frummeh who don’t have any sense. And they say, “Enjoying life? This world you want to enjoy? No!” And so, these frum fools are missing out on life. There’s so much to get out of this world. You know how much fun it is just to have your two feet and your two arms and your two eyes and your two kidneys? It’s so much fun! If you don’t believe me, ask a man in a wheelchair, sitting with a blanket over his knees. If you pick up the blanket, you’ll see there’s nothing underneath. He doesn’t have any feet. Suppose he could have one foot. Just one foot! Now he could hop around on crutches. He’d be a millionaire! And you have two of them?! So you’re a multimillionaire! There’s so much happiness in life, you can go meshugah from happiness!

So you’re asking me a kasha, if Torah Judaism is so much fun, why are there so few Torah Jews? So I ask you, why are there so many lunatics who are ruining their health, ruining their teeth, ruining their stomachs, ruining their hearts! You know people are eating their hearts out by fighting all the time, and worrying! Recrimination in the house! Eating themselves up! There are a thousand and one things that people are causing themselves. Diabetes is usually caused by people fighting, by quarreling. Heart attacks are the result of excitation. People are excited and quarreling. How many family tragedies take place over the biggest narishkeiten?!

“Your mother said this,” and “His mother said this,” and there’s a whole tragedy! I hear it every day. And people die of that. Here’s a woman who had cancer and died young because she had a bad husband. A wicked husband. He killed her! He murdered her with his wickedness. Here’s a man who had a heart attack because his wife always egged him on until he lost his temper. And finally in the midst of a burst of temper he fell dead. People die from emotions. If people would train themselves to live quietly, not to take anything seriously, to laugh it off, and instead to learn the science of being a שמח בחלקו, then their lives would be different.

So you asked me a question, why are there so many people who don’t understand the joy of being a frum Jew? The joy of sitting shabbos around the table with your family singing zemiros! You know what a geshmak that is? You’re sitting with your sons and leading them in zemiros. You have to have children of course. If you don’t have any children, then it’s just an empty table. If you want to practice ZPG (Zero Population Growth) by not having any children, so what can you expect in an an empty house already? But here’s a man with ten children. And they’re all singing, it’s a choir. Ah, a pleasure, a taanug. It’s oilem hazeh, it’s gan eden on this world. Of course, the housewife is putting all of her talents into making delicious viands for Shabbos, and that makes the Shabbos so delicious! And everybody is smacking their lips and diving into it; they’re enjoying it. They’re enjoying the shabbos. And everybody takes a nap. Instead of sitting behind the steering wheel and smelling the man in front of you, his gas fumes coming out of his [inaudible], you’re sitting around your table with your children. And then you go to sleep; it’s quiet and peaceful. Then you get up, and everybody is learning, going to shul, you’re family is together. The happiness of a true Orthodox life! Why are there so few people who don’t have sense to live a normal life? Go ask them.
TAPE # 403