Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Filling the void
(Rabbi Avigdor Miller in his younger years)
YW Editor, I gotta give you the credit here, if not for you I don't know if this topic ever comes up.
You speak of Rabbi Avigdor Miller z"l, a truly unique individual who taught Torah and Jewish thought to thousands, not to mention Jewish History. The points about him being a Misnaged are nothing but lies, and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on that. You probably thought that his son, Shmuel, somehow reflects his views on Chassidus, yet nothing can be further from the truth. Until you quote him to the contrary my opinion will not change on that.
His time in Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin not withstanding.
As far as Chassidim flocking to him and 95% of them "dropping their Rebbes", I'll say this much. The fact that these Chassidim, many of whom I know personally, did flock to him is proof positive that so-called Peylishe and Hungarian Chassidus, without a unique Derech in Limud HaChassidus and Aveyde do nothing for the man searching for something to fill the spiritual void he feels.
Rabbi Miller was of the old school, nothing fancy about him, a Yid who made nothing of himself. In Eretz Yisroel he'd have a car, driver, and a houseful of MeShamshim at his beck and call. He spoke of Tikun HaMidos and of Emunah in the Eibershter, not of seams in the socks and 3 feet Shtraymlech, keeping it simple. His "lead by example" way of life didn't hurt either. He was easily accessible and could be spoken to in a down-to-earth manner, never away in Palm Springs and Miami with all the others.
If I remember correctly he was from Baltimore, a לאנדסמאן of the late RY of Telshe-Cleveland RMG, although much older. Unlike his counterpart, Rabbi Miller was not a hater, he was respectful of Chassidim and their good qualities, and from what I understood a staunch Republican too! If my memory doesn't fail me they were both educated, at least partly, by the Chossid Reb Avrom Elya Akselrod who came to America in the earlier part of the century and passed away in 5712. I guess some learned more from him than others....