Rav Avigdor Miller on Kosher Entertainment
If travel and movies and eating out are goyish, so where should people go for entertainment?
Come to this place and I’ll teach you a lesson. Ahh! What a good world it is! It says, והנה טוב מאד – the whole world is good. If only you would learn to walk and to enjoy life while you’re walking. You’re walking in the autumn now and as your feet are wading through the leaves, you’re kicking the leaves on the sidewalk. Isn’t that fun? You’re breathing the brisk fresh air of autumn and you’re seeing the beautiful colors of the leaves and you’re thinking, every leaf that falls from the tree is a neis. Why did it fall? You think the leaf got tired and finally fell down?
When a leaf falls from a tree, it’s a neis. Abscission cells develop at the end of the stem where it’s connected to the twig and these cells do a most purposeful performance of cutting off the leaf from the twig. When it falls, it’s a marvel! A remarkable marvel of precision!
Why do leaves change colors in autumn? Because they have to let us know that time is passing, that we’re not going to live forever. And even more important, they tell the squirrels — Get busy and bury your acorns because winter is coming. And while the squirrels are burying acorns, they’re planting future oak trees for us. ועזבו לאחרים חילם – the squirrel thinks the acorns are for him to eat, but sometimes the squirrel doesn’t live until the springtime, and now the acorns take root and that’s how oak trees grow.
And while you’re walking, you’ll notice seeds falling to the ground with wings attached to them. All kinds of various machinery to cause the seeds to fly, different kinds for different seeds. How did it happen that the tree had the wisdom to attach flying gliders to the seeds in order that the seeds should fly away from the mother tree so it won’t have to compete with the mother tree for materials? Instead it falls down on an open space and grows.
And as you’re walking in autumn and your mind is filling with the wisdom that you see all around you, you’re also breathing the fresh air. It’s not hot now. It’s not cold. This is the time of year to get the most out of life.
Of course, if you’ll ask me in the springtime, I’ll tell you how to get the most out of life then too. In July, I’ll tell you how to get the most out of life then too. It’s always good. Nissan is good and Iyar is good and Sivan is good and Tamuz is good and Av is good. וירא אלקים את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאד — Hashem saw that everything that He made is good.
When people learn how to enjoy life, they’ll see how silly it is to go to a movie. “I’ll coop myself up in a movie where there’s no fresh air and it costs money too and my eyes are feasting on garbage?” Hakol hevel.
You go to a place to eat for entertainment? Why should you go out to eat? You think the restaurants can give you any food that is more wholesome than what you have in your own kitchen? Most of the food in the restaurants, you have to know, is not as clean as your home food. Many times, the people that you don’t see, they take fish out of the big pot with their hands and they put it on the plate to serve you. And they wipe their noses with the same hand. Go behind the scenes in the restaurant kitchen – you won’t eat there anymore.
And what does travel mean? I told you many times. Travel to Hong Kong and go to a hotel room. You’re paying a lot of money to see bigger cockroaches than you ever saw before at home. And you contract foreign diseases too. And so, it’s all imagination. It’s all selling – people sell you the sheker and you pay out of your nose. You pay and pay and then you come back knocked out. Sometimes you come back sick. People come back sick. They have dysentery. They have yellow jaundice. I’ve had cases where people came back with sicknesses; only that they wanted to get their money’s worth so they rave for the rest of their life of the good time they had while they were in those places.
Life is full of innocent kosher pleasures and gashmiyus. Of course life is not for that alone, but it’s possible to live happily without spending a nickel.