LINK Kollel Hosts Rav Ahron Lopiansky

Eli Stern

On January 20 and 21, Parshas Shemos, LINK Kollel in Los Angeles was privileged to host Rav Ahron Lopiansky, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva of Greater Washington. Rav Lopiansky offered a series of shiurim primarily designed to offer chizzuk and hadracha for the avreichim of the Kollel.

Rav Lopiansky, a talmid of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim for 25 years – during which he became the son-in-law of its rosh yeshiva, Rav Beinish Finkel, zt”l – has been the Rosh Yeshiva in Silver Spring, Maryland, since 1995. He is also the author of a number of sefarim and articles on Torah hashkafah.

On Erev Shabbos, Rav Lopiansky spoke to the yungerleit for two and a half hours. He first gave an esoteric shiur on the dialectic of a yungerman’s goals in learning. Torah is infinite and klal yisrael is compared to the stars which are infinite, yet at the same time, David Hamelech says that each star has a name, thus implying that there is a way for each yachid to reach his potential in a finite realm. He developed this theme both in terms of each avreich‘s tafkid in his individual learning, as well as in his teaching of others. Rav Lopiansky then answered a wide-ranging series of questions from the yungerleit on various topics.

Over Shabbos, he gave two talks for the avreichim and four shiurim for the baal habatim who attend the Kollel. Addressing the yungerleit and their wives at the Friday night seudah, he spoke about the challenges of technology.  He outlined three ways that the yetzer hara seduces us into addiction in this area and delineated strategies of how to combat them. He then answered a number of practical questions on the subject. He also gave a shiur Shabbos afternoon for the avreichim on the parshah, based on his encyclopedic seferYesodei Hatorah, which deals with the salient hashkafic themes of the sedra.

During davening Friday night, Rav Lopiansky gave a brief shiur on the difference between Avraham Avinu and Moshe Rabbeinu when it came to serving Hashem. Since Avraham lived before Matan Torah, his avodah was to reveal where Hashem is hidden in this world; “Derech eretz kadmah l’Torah.” However, Moshe Rabbeinu was the revealer of the infinite Torah, and his tafkid was to show us that everything in this world is truly the essence of Hashem.

In his drashah Shabbos morning, Rav Lopiansky offered a profound understanding of the secret code “pakod pokaditi” that the redeemer of klal yisrael was to utter to prove his authenticity. He explained that the nature of a pikadon is to show the unbreakable nexus between the owner and the object, regardless of the distance of time and space. In essence, the redeemer of klal yisrael (whether Moshe or Moshiach) will be one that will return klal yisrael to its original state of connection to Hashem, restoring the glory of its observance and its Torah study. All of the ersatz “redeemers” of klal yisrael throughout its history (whether individuals or movements), have always sought to innovate rather than restore the pristine state of klal yisrael. Thus, Moshe Rabbeinu’s revealing of the Torah to klal yisrael at Sinai was indeed the proof that he was the true redeemer – the restorer of klal yisrael‘s spiritual greatness.

At a communal luncheon attended by over 100, he articulated the need to serve Hashem with both our mind and our heart. Referencing the Gemara that a mother and father contribute distinctive parts to their baby’s anatomy (the woman providing the more emotional, flexible aspects and the man providing the more cerebral, rigid parts), he proceeded to delineate how all of these play an integral role in various aspects of our avodas Hashem.

At shalosh seudos, Rav Lopiansky deciphered a cryptic passage in the Zohar that compared the various aspects of our suffering in Mitzrayim to several dimensions of limud HaTorah. He explained that just as the suffering of the slavery brought out a refinement and edification of our middos and of our attachment to Hashem, so too do the extreme exertions and (physical) deprivations of limud HaTorah bring a person’s mind and heart to a rarefied level of purity, truthfulness, and deveikus with Hashem.

Concluding his very productive but brief visit, Rav Lopiansky was the featured speaker at a community-wide hesped for his rebbe in machshava, HaRav Moshe Shapiro, zt”l, held at the Kollel of Los Angeles.