HaRav Zevulun Schwartzman Gives Pre-Purim Shiur At LINK Kollel
Exactly one week before Purim, the LINK Kollel was privileged to hear a profound shiur on the nexus of Purim, Amalek, and kabbolas haTorah. The special guest speaker was HaRav Zevulun Schwartzman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Etz Chayim-Kletzk (Lakewood East) in Yerushalayim. He also spoke at several other mosdos during his visit to Los Angeles.
HaRav Schwartzman is a grandson of HaRav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, and the son of the renowned Bais HaTalmud Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Dov Schwartzman, zt”l,. Employing the esoteric insights of the Vilna Gaon, he delineated the parallels between Amalek’s attack on klal yisrael just before kabbolas haTorah in the Sinai Desert and Haman’s attempted genocide of the Jewish people that culminated in our renewal of kabbolas haTorah on Purim.
He posited that klal yisrael’s seemingly astonishing denial of Hashem’s presence when faced with a lack of water in the desert (“ha’yiash Hashem b’kibainu im ayin”) was in fact much more subtle. Based on the Gra, he explained that the question they were asking was whether Hashem would be involved in their lives in an open manner (such as in krias Yam Suf) or in a more hidden, indirect manner (as seemed to be the case when they ran out of water).
What kabbolas haTorah accomplishes for them both at Har Sinai and at the time of Purim was the fusing of the abstract knowledge of Hashem’s existence with a more visceral, internalized awareness of His constant and loving Presence. In effect, by accepting the Written Torah and then elucidating it through the Oral Torah with great diligence, they were insuring that their awareness of Hashem would remain intimate and immediate.
This can only be accomplished, averred the Rosh Yeshiva, if a Jew learns Torah Shel B’Al Peh with great fever and toil. That will overcome the “refidim” (“rofu y’daihem nin HaTorah”) that Amalek challenges us with. Amalek classically is viewed by Chazal as engendering doubt within us about the presence of Hashem. The only true antidote to that is by a sincere and profound kabbolas haTorah every Purim that enables us to internalize the clarity and closeness of Hashem in every aspect of our lives – through learning His Torah in depth and with great diligence.
The crowd, consisting of the Kollel’s avreichim and the baal habattim who come to lean at LINK every Sunday morning, was deeply moved by his remarks and many stayed to follow-up with the Rosh Yeshiva for nearly a half hour after the shiur ended.