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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Learning Torah On Purim

The Ramchal writes (Derech Hashem Chap. 7), in explaining the Moadim, that the Jewish calendar is cyclical, not linear. Therefore, the events that took place during each of the Yomim Tovim made an indelible impression on the calendar cycle, and when the cycle comes back to that point of the year the Divine Light of that time resurges as well.
The holidays are not merely historical commemorations of ancient events, rather they are resurgences of the Godly inspiration that was created during the original event.
Therefore Pesach is an opportunity to tap into the bounty of personal emancipation and freedom of the Exodus, Shavous is a time to have Divine assistance in Torah learning and so on.
The Ramchal continues: the cyclical inspiration of Purim is in the salvation of the Jews during the Babylonian exile, and in that they reaccepted the Torah in a permanent way.
What does he mean when he writes that we reaccepted the Torah?
The Gemara in Shabbos (88a) explains that when we stood at Har Sinai Hashem held the mountain over our heads like a barrel and delivered an ultimatum. Either accept the Torah or this will be your burial place! The Gemara notes that from here we have a really good excuse when challenged on our lack of fulfillment of the Torah’s laws – we were forced into it!
However, the Gemara goes on, that in the days of Achashverosh we reaccepted the Torah willingly (and are therefore bound, with no out).
So presumably, the Ramchal is referencing this Gemara, and telling us that each year on Purim we once again have a unique ability to reaccept the Torah in a willing manner as we did on that first Purim.
There are many other manifestations of this concept in the customs and laws of the day of Purim.
The Rema writes that the custom is to wear Shabbos clothes on Purim (and as an aside, the Poskim stress that this is especially important during the Megilla). The Chida explains that the reason for wearing extra nice clothing is for the Simchas HaTorah that we have on Purim.
The Behag also refers to Purim as being comparable to the day the Torah was given, and his source is the above Gemara.
The Shelah refers to Purim as the ‘conclusion’ of the acceptance of the Torah, and the joy of Purim is the joy of Simchas Hatorah.
The Rema codifies: (695:2) One should engage in Torah study before beginning the Seudah as it says “The Jews had Orah Vesimcha” and Orah (light) refers to Torah. The Levush notes it should be specifically before the Seudah, first Orah, then Simcha.
Wishing you all a wonderful, inspiring and Torah filled Purim!

Posted on 02/17 at 03:13 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch HaberRabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber is sought after by all who know him for his Halachic and practical advice. His keen ability to put complicated matters into a digestible perspective coupled with his ability to get the facts, make him the perfect blogger to help us all “Do It Right”.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber spent his childhood globetrotting with his family. His pioneering spirit first surfaced in Melbourne, Australia, where he was excited to be a member of the opening class of Mesivta Bnei Torah. From Australia the Haber family settled down in Monsey, NY. Ever the maverick, Tzvi promptly left home to study in Yeshiva Ohr Hameir in Peekskill, where he became a mainstay of the Yeshiva, and inspired his younger brothers as well as several friends from the Mesivta in Melbourne to follow him. He then joined his chaburah in Jerusalem, first at the Mir Yeshiva and then at the Bais Medrash of Rav Dovid Soloveitchik, a senior scion of the famed Brisk dynasty. As his globetrotting family returned to Jerusalem, Tzvi returned to the US, to freeze in the famed, yet comparatively chilled Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood.

 In 2004 he met his wife, Suzanne Schor, a native of the warmer Los Angeles climate, and the couple settled in Lakewood, where he focused his pioneering and independent strengths on the study of Halacha, or Jewish law. His innovative spirit and innate ability to help others seeking to clarify the finer points of Judaism and integrate them into their daily lives inspired his decision to commute daily from Lakewood to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in order to bask in the day to day exposure to the world renowned Posek, HaRav David Feinstein. The daily commute was more than compensated for when he received Semicha from Rav Feinstien and the Kollel L’Torah U’lhorah (a division of Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem) in Tamuz 5768, June 2008.

In August 2009, the Habers moved west, heading toward Los Angeles where Rabbi Haber joined the LINK-LA Kollel. After being an active member of the Kollel for several years, he joined the business world, however he is still actively involved in teaching and learning in LA.

Actively involved in all aspects of TorahLab, Tzvi has taken upon himself a quasi-role as administrator of quality control and has effectively improved and upgraded many of the smaller yet vital details involved in our site. His advice is eagerly sought and gracefully given.

Rabbi Haber is now living in the La Brea section of Los Angeles with his wonderful family. He can be contacted at