Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד The Veracity of Torah Philosopher Immanuel Kant famously spoke of the “crooked timber of humankind.”  By this, Kant meant to say that we mortals are akin to a warped piece of wood, or a trunk of a tree, that could never be completely and fully straightened out, and rendered...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Holiness: A Sublime Lifetime Endeavor For Israeli theologian Yeshayahu Leibowitz, nothing was more spiritually heinous, vulgar and repugnant than Korach’s grotesque and preposterous theological assertion in the commencement of our parsha that “Kol ha’eda kedoshim,” namely that we are all intrinsically and inherently holy, simply because of our sheer...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד True Humility Our book and parashah start out with the Hebrew word “Vayikra” (which means “And He called upon”). G-d calls Moses. But something is strange and unusual, about the way this word, “Vayikra”, is written in a Torah scroll. The concluding letter of the word “Vayikra,” is written...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד The Price of Hate Three times in our history we went into exile. The first time we went into exile was after the selling of Joseph, about which we read in this Shabbat’s parshah. The second time was after the death of King Solomon. King Solomon had two sons...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Conscience: A Jewish Invention Hitler once said that the conscience is a Jewish invention. He was right. It was Judaism which brought to the world the notion that we all possess universal and inherent dignity on account of our divine image, and it is the Torah which commands us...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד The Jewish Condition & the Human Condition Abraham is a living legend in his own lifetime. He is revered by his contemporaries, who address him as a “Prince of G-d in our midst.” Abraham, with true spiritual humility, describes himself to the local people as “A stranger and a...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Remember Your Humble Beginnings My grandfather was a holocaust refugee. He miraculously slipped through the Germans’ fingers. When he first came to Israel, he slept on a bench. Others slept in broken huts, and others still – in fragile tents which constantly leaked during rainy days, and shuddered during...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var

בס”ד Two Kinds of Enemies  We read this Shabbat a text which also appears in the Passover Haggadah. This text includes the following three words: “Arami Oved Avi” (ארמי אובד אבי).There are two ways to understand these words. According to Rashi and the midrash in Sifre, it means that there...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד The Ultimate Battle Lamentably, when wars break out, all too often soldiers give free reign to their lower and animalistic drives. In the absence of law enforcement, in the mayhem of the battlefields, terrible crimes are committed against helpless victims, including defenseless women. The opening mitzvah of our parashah...

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Solipsism and Its Discontents   We are reading a very exciting parashah this Shabbat. Every parashah is exciting, but Parashat Va’etchanan is particularly replete with some of the most pivotal and foundational tenets of Jewish spirituality. Our parashah includes, amongst other things, the verse of Shma Yisrael, the first...

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