On Tuesday evening, February 25, Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, well-known speaker and founder of Shabbat.com, spoke on behalf of Chazaq at the Dekhanov residence in Bayswater.
Rabbi Klatzko shared that “Everything has its time. Every emotion has its time.” He noted how before Purim and Pesach we are confronted with the coronavirus and with someone anti-Semitic running for President. We need to be headed towards Mashiach, yet it appears things seem to be going downhill. We seem to be further and further from Mashiach. On the other hand, we had thousands of Jews fill a stadium to celebrate the Siyum HaShas. “There’s more Torah being learned in the USA and in Israel than thousands of years in Europe.
He taught that Purim is all about hiddenness. “Esther” means hidden. Hashem’s name is not mentioned in the Megillah; Hashem’s face is hidden. Why is hiddenness such a big theme? He added, “In fact, that is why we wear masks. We are celebrating hiddenness.”
He taught that “We also celebrate achdus on Purim. It’s the reason Haman wanted to destroy us.” Achdus is central to Purim. He then posed the following questions: Why is there a mitzvah on Purim to publicize the miracle? Why can we leave Torah learning to read the Megillah?
He then explained that “understanding where we are standing” is the key to unlocking Purim. He elaborated: A miracle isn’t necessarily a good thing. Christians canonize saints when they perform two miracles. To them, the litmus test for greatness is miracles. In contrast, what makes someone a gadol in Judaism is midos tovos, greatness in Torah learning, and in davening. Rabbi Klatzko added that greatness is the way he treats his spouse.
Rabbi Klatzko shared a famous story about Rav Moshe Feinstein. A talmid was driving him home and unknowingly shut the car door on his fingers. Rav Feinstein knew he would be mortified to know that this happened, so he didn’t make a sound. Greatness means thinking of the other person, not of yourself.
What is a neis? Rabbi Klatzko explained that “neis” also means banner. In war, in the olden days, people would look to the banner to know where their side was. A neis is Hashem raising a banner, saying I’m here. Rabbi Klatzko imparted that Hashem hides His oneness. We’re all one piece of Hashem. Our job is to reveal Hashem’s oneness. We testify that Hashem is one through the mitzvos we perform.
“The purpose of creation was not Bayis Rishon. That was the preparation for the endgame. The endgame is when Hashem is totally hidden.” He taught that each generation gets closer and closer to gathering sparks of Hashem. We can’t gather the sparks where we see Hashem. Rabbi Klatzko shared an analogy: Hashem is like a parent who gradually lets go as his child is learning to ride a bike. He starts with training wheels and then removes them. Purim is the transition to taking off the training wheels.
Esther’s real name was Hadasah and hadasim represent the eyes. “To be able to see what’s not obvious, that was Esther. She was able to see with her hadasim eyes that everything in creation was from Hashem. She saw Hashem behind all of nature.” She was able to teach klal Yisrael that you can find Hashem in this new stage of Hashem’s being hidden. He explained that masks celebrate the transition. “If you want to gather Hashem’s sparks, you need to know that we’re all one.”
The opposite of achdus is sin’as chinam. You don’t hate another person unless you see him or her as separate.
He explained that “the Oral Torah focuses us to make us much better. It’s what matters. So, Purim is the yom tov of Torah she’b’al peh.
He pointed out that Esther lived what could have been considered a tragic life. She lost her parents when she was a baby. She was forced to marry a non-Jewish king. She could have cried, “Hashem, where are you?”
However, she saw with her special eyes. It’s just the hidden that needs to be revealed. We are living in galus now. Hashem says: You’re scattered – you have to influence the world.
Today the world is full of tumult. Exactly in this world we have to uncover the hiddenness of Hashem. He detailed that there are three types of hiddenness: in ourselves, in others, and in Hashem’s world at large. He emphasized, “We each have within us this reserve of power. We see this from Esther.” Sometimes we don’t know how to tap into it. He continued: You will surprise yourself: Look at your children with magic eyes. See greatness in them. Tell them that you are their biggest fan club. They feel empowered. “That hiddenness inside of you is Hashem.”
The last hiddenness is in the world. We see things look dangerous. “There’s a big picture by Hashem. Emunah is the great task of our generation.” We have to understand that everything is from Hashem.
The avodah of Purim is to be ready to take off the training wheels. “Purim is the yom tov of gathering sparks that will bring Mashiach.”
This shiur can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.
By Susie Garber