Sonei matanos yichyeh, it means if you hate gifts from human beings you're going to live; please explain?
And the idea is, what is life? Life is one thing, life is only bechira, free will; that's all life is. Life doesn't mean to be happy, because happiness really is in the next world, this world is not the real place. The true happiness is in the world to come. So why should a person worry if he's afraid he might die chalila? He's losing the opportunity to eat chicken? No. He's afraid because now he's going to lose that great gift of free will. That's what death means, death means your free will comes to an end. No more free will; forever! Happiness, yes to no end in the next world, but no free will.
If you accept gifts from somebody you are giving up part of your free will, because you cannot speak up and say your mind anymore. If you take gifts like Reb Chaim Brisker said, when he came to Brisk for the rabbonus, the first baal habos who gave him a dollar burned a hole in his palm; it never healed, he said. It means he wanted more. Once you start taking from people, you lose your free will.
Let's say you're going to visit someone. You're rich, you have plenty to eat at home, but you visit him and eat on his table. If you eat at his table then you're bound, you cannot help it; you have to laugh at his jokes.
And if he says a d'var Torah, no matter how much it's lacking, you have to say...very good. Sometimes he says things that are not virtuous, but you can't help yourself because you're his guest. That's why if you hate gifts you are going to live longer. Hakadosh Baruch Hu sees you utilize your free will, so He says this man deserves to live more to practice more free will.
But from Hakadosh Baruch Hu you can take and take, because if you lose your free will towards Him, that's alright. If you're more humbled before Him, that's alright.
So sonei matanos from human beings, yichyeh; but from Hakadosh Baruch Hu we're already mortgaged up to our ears anyhow, so you might as well take and take.
A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #292
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