Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The AIPAC Conference: Unity and Solidarity

Eighteen thousand people congregated in Washington DC earlier this week, in order to send a clear and unequivocal message: “We stand with Israel”.

The crowd was a veritable collage of American ethnicities and diverse backgrounds. In addition to numerous Jewish-Americans, the crowd also included Hispanic, African-American, and overall Christian supporters of the Jewish state and its plight – to continue to survive and thrive in a hostile and politically barbaric region, in which Israel’s neighbors have been slaughtering each other by the hundreds of thousands for more than half a decade by now.

Our Parashah explains why we, some fifty members of the Sephardic Temple, also attended the AIPAC Conference. Our Parashah is called “Tzav”, which means “To command, to obligate”, and at the same time – the word “Tzav” also carries a linguistic affinity to the word “Tzavta” – which means “Togetherness”. These two words “Obligation” and “Togetherness” capture the very raison d’etre of the annual AIPAC Conference. We are there as a matter of profound political and moral obligation to fulfill the Talmudic mitzvah of “All of Israel are guarantors for one another” – we watch each other’s back, as befitting the holy and loving global community of Israel. It is this kind of sacred obligation which our Parsha’s title has in mind, when it refers to the word “Tzav” in the context of an imperative, a steadfast and undying commitment.

In addition to that, the AIPAC Conference also constitutes a formidable and incomparable manifestation of Jewish unity and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel. And as such – it also encapsulates the additional intimated meaning of the word “Tzav”, namely – “Tzavta” – togetherness and utmost unity.

May we be blessed to always strive and succeed to adhere to our spiritual, moral and political obligations before G-d and man, and may we also remember to live up to the timeless ideal and mitzvah of “Kol Yisrael Ehad” – the entire Jewish people constitute one integral, unified, and indivisible entity. We are One.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sessler

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