Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Two Forms of Greatness Rabbi David Hartman Z”L, was an important figure in the world of Jewish studies. In his youth, Rabbi Hartman was a student of the great Torah giant, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik of blessed memory. When David Hartman was a young student, Rabbi Soloveitchik strongly encouraged Hartman to...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Tzadik in a Fur Coat Noah, the hero and chief protagonist of our parashah, is described by our sages as “A tzadik in a fur coat”. What’s behind this metaphor? The rabbis explain that back in the old country, in the dead of winter, when it was brutally cold and...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Headline: Rashi on Current Events These are difficult times in Israel. Literally every few hours now, a civilian is attacked in broad day light by terrorists. This terror campaign is also backed up by a robust political and diplomatic campaign to delegitimize the very existence of the Jewish State. Israel...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Strange Procession on Sukkot   Sukkot is a seven-day holiday. On each day of the holiday we march around the synagogue in a circle, while holding the Lulav, Etrog, myrtle and willow in our hands. This ritual is called in Hebrew ‘Hakafot‘ (“encirclings”). Why the encircling procession with the...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Time To Rejoice Following the intensity of the High Holy Days, we celebrate Sukkot. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) sees Sukkot as a healthy counterbalance to the intensity and gravity of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Spiritually, the Sukkot represent G-d’s protection for the Jewish people across the millennia. Historically,...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Fast after Rosh Hashanah One of the least known days in the Jewish calendar is the Fast of Gedalya, which is a minor fast day on the third of Tishrey, the day immediately following Rosh Hashanah. What is this fast day about? It is about the assassination of a...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

One Day, Four Different Names Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, has three additional spiritual “nicknames”: ‘Yom Truah’ (a ‘Day of Cheering’, alluding to the shofar blasts), ‘Yom Hazikaron‘ (a ‘Day of Recollection’, during which the Almighty scrutinizes all the deeds and occurrences of the previous year), and ‘Yom Hadin’...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Dignity of Others Last week we read in the Torah about the importance of treating women captives of war in a humane and compassionate way. This week, an 18 year old woman by the name of Jinan published her memoirs in France. Jinan belongs to the Yazidi minority in...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

 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 commands a Jew...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Justice: A Jewish Invention Hitler claimed that “Conscience is a Jewish invention”. He was right. In the words of the great Catholic historian, Paul Johnson: “All the great conceptual discoveries of the human intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they had been revealed, but it requires a special genius to...

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