האט נעכטן ארימגעשיקט לכבוד די יארצייט וואס געפאלט היינט כ"ז ניסן, אויסצוגן פון די ביאגראפיע בוך פון ר' אבגדור, וואס אגב יעצט דט צו באקומען פאר 15% off דא
איך בין דא מעתיק איין שטיקל, איבער זיין נקודה וואס ער פלעגט אסאך רעדן פון נישט נעמען גארנישט פון די באשעפערס חסדים פאר granted
Endless Chasdei Hashem
Rabbi Miller took nothing for granted — not the smallest detail, nor the most common phenomena. Once as he ascended the stairs of his apartment, unaware that someone was behind him, he was heard saying, “Thank You, Hashem, for the banister.” He thanked Hashem for the carpet on the steps, for the lining in his jacket, for his pockets. He recalled how his rebbi pointed out the chessed that buttonholes were reinforced. He appreciated the tip of his shoelace, enabling him to push it through the hole.
A grandchild was once in the hospital with him. In the middle of the night, thinking his grandson was sleeping on the chair next to him, he got up for some water. He made a careful berachah, took a sip and then said to his Best Friend, “Ich dank eich — I thank You.”
With enthusiasm and pleasure he would talk about the gratitude he had for a glass of water — what he called an “elixir of life!” Years before, Macy’s sold bottled New York City tap water for two dollars for tourists. Someone purchased one for him and he kept it at his feet by his seat in the shul, to remind him that every glass of water — even New York City tap water — had monetary value.
Every time Rabbi Miller saw a full cupboard or refrigerator, he was filled with gratitude and reflected on “Uv’sava kilkaltanu — In times of satiation it is You Who is providing.”
Rabbi Miller once picked up an apple from his table, which often had some fruit on it, and took a deep breath. His grandson, who was watching him unobserved, overheard him saying in Yiddish: “Ay, Father in Heaven, You bothered Yourself to make this magnificent fruit. Its color is so beautiful, a deep tantalizing red.” He paused a moment to take in the color, then continued: “And You even added a smell so avory, a temptingly delicious aroma with which it is perfumed.” He paused to relish the smell. “And You did all this for me. Then You put in so much preparation in order to get it to me. You also gave me eyes, hands, teeth and a tongue, and they all benefit from this fruit. You did this all with Your kindness because You love me. And I love You so much for this …. How can I begin to thank You for all this?”
He then proceeded to make a slow berachah. After chewing slowly, he exclaimed, “Ay, Father in Heaven, exactly how we have spoken, so it is, indeed a delicious gift ….”
Rabbi Miller often related the story of the Lomzer mashgiach who saw an unhappy bachur, went over to him, took him by the lapels and began shouting, wishing him a hearty mazel tov and telling him how lucky he was and how many people would envy him. The bachur had no idea what was going on. The mashgiach said to the downtrodden bachur, “Mazel tov! You are alive!”
On both nights of Rosh Hashanah before Maariv, he would give a shiur in Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah. The second night he would start the shiur by saying, “First of all, we have to thank Hashem for the gift of a day in the new year.” Once, he heard someone chuckle. He looked up and said, “I am very serious. Everybody say now: ‘Thank You, Hashem, for the gift of a day in the new year.’”
He was always excited about the gift of life; he never took it for granted. When he would come to the words in Shemoneh Esrei, “V’al nishmoseinu hap’kudos lach — And for our souls that are deposited with You,” people nearby could hear him stop and take a full breath. He often said, “It is a picture perfect day — and the best part is that we are still part of the picture.”
He described taking a walk during the day as “bathing in the golden rays of sunlight.” Taking in a deep breath was drinking the “cocktail” of delicious fresh air, and it would get him “intoxicated with love of Hashem.”
Once, while walking with a talmid, he kept talking about something extraordinary they were soon going to have. “Soon we will have a very special treat.” Shortly after, he again said, “It will be really special.” The bachur could not imagine what Rabbi Miller was talking about … until they turned a corner and he finally stopped at a quiet spot and said excitedly, “Now!” He proceeded to take in a very deep breath, and then instructed the bachur to inhale a full cup of another thing he referred to as an “elixir of life” — fresh air!
Complaining was simply not in his dictionary. “When it is hot,” he would say, “think that Hashem is cooking apples for you and providing free heat, and in the winter He is providing free air-conditioning. But never make a complaint.”
Someone once gave him a ride in a car that had been baking in the sun of a heat wave for hours. The driver apologized that the air conditioner was broken. Rabbi Miller said, “Mahn dichar shmeih? (Who even mentioned it?)” The issue had never even occurred to him. His joy at everyday life was so overwhelming that there was no room for complaining. Walking in the scorching sun during a heat wave a grandson overheard him saying numerous times, “Thank you, Hashem, for the sweet sun. I love You for this wonderful gift.”
When he was asked for the purpose of humidity and heat, he replied:
I’ll answer that by giving you an analogy. Here is a man who comes home and he has to go through the kitchen in order to go to the bathroom. And he tells his wife, “What? In this hot weather you’re cooking? It’s so hot in here!” So she says, “Yes, dear, I’ll turn off the stove,” and she does. When he comes out he says, “Is supper ready?” And she says, “Sorry, not tonight.”
So, too, in September all the ripe red apples are out on the stands. How does an apple become red, juicy and sweet? It’s only because Hakadosh Baruch Hu turns on the heat. The summer is the kitchen that ripens these delicious fruits that we are going to eat all winter. Therefore, are we going to complain because of the good times that are waiting for us? During a prolonged heat wave he announced, “Anyone who does not complain, ‘Oy vey, how hot it is,’ will merit Olam Haba.”