Rav Avigdor Miller - His Life and His Revolution
Rabbi Yaakov Y. Hamburger
''Baruch Hashem, ich gei mit epes -- Thank G-d, I'm leaving with something.''
The ''something'' that Rav Avigdor Miller left with when he passed away on 27 Nissan 5761 (2001) was a radically transformed Torah world -- a world he helped revolutionize. Surprisingly, he did so without almost ever leaving the confines of his little shul in Brooklyn.
Despite being born in early twentieth century America, attending public school, and growing up in an environment focused solely on materialism and assimilation, Rav Miller somehow managed to resist the powerful tides of his youth. The path of Divine providence -- a reflection of his own determination to serve Hashem with all his heart -- took him to the Yeshivah Eitz Chaim in New York, to the legendary Slabodka yeshivah in Europe, to Chelsea, Massachusetts, to serve as Rav, to Mesivta Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin as Mashgiach, and finally to East Flatbush and later Flatbush as the Rav of a small kehillah (congregation).
Along that path, he never stopped working on himself, and he never stopped learning and teaching Torah. One thought at a time, one small action at a time, Rav Miller transformed himself into a supreme even Hashem (servant of G-d). One word at a time, one shiur (class) at a time, Rav Miller transformed virtually every Jew who came in contact with him. His mind-expanding, eye-opening Thursday night lectures -- disseminated around the world through his tape recordings -- changed the lives of Jews everywhere. His patient, methodical Gemara shiurim (Talmud classes) turned those who at first could only read from a siddur (prayer book) into accomplished talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars). His numerous published books enriched readers with the gift of refreshing clarity as they conveyed hard-hitting, no-nonsense Torah hashkafah (outlook).
The story of Rav Miller's life -- presented here for the first time in a fascinating, comprehensive biography -- is a testimony to the power we all have to transform ourselves, and our world.