Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Israeli Politicians: The Shame and the Pride Last Sunday, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail to serve a 19 month sentence, for charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. Olmert is the first ever former Israeli Prime Minister to serve time in prison. Olmert serves his sentence in the same prison in […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Death of A Giant I lost one of my Rabbis last week, Rabbi Joshua Gordon. His was an untimely death, at the age of 66, due to a terminal illness. Naturally, I was saddened and emotional about it. Rabbi Gordon was a unique, charismatic, charming, encyclopedic, funny, warm, loving, caring Torah genius, who also made […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

   Who Do You Carry With You? As our ancestors journeyed through the Sinai Desert, they carried with them the coffin of Joseph, who is known in our tradition as a “tzadik yesod Olam” (A tzadik who is akin to a cornerstone upon which the spiritual and moral wellbeing of the world rests). Why did we […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Way Jews Do Torah In order to understand Judaism, you must read the Torah portion with the rabbinic commentaries. A famous and clear case in point appears in next week’s parashah, as the text states: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

A Jewish Hero in California Shlomo Rechnitz is one of those pious Orthodox Jews who always walk around with a white shirt, black pants, and a velvet kippah. He is also blessed with affluence, and is the proud owner of dozens of nursing homes throughout California. During the lottery-mania of the last couple of weeks, […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Solidarity with Europe’s Jews It’s been 12 years since the Chief Rabbi of France called upon French Jewry to stop wearing a kippah in public, because it is too dangerous. In numerous other cities and countries in Europe the situation is very much the same. Last week, a Torah teacher was stabbed in the French […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

One People, One Love, One Destiny A grandson of two beloved members of our community, of David and Raquel Ben Simon, traveled to Israel as part of a Birthright delegation. And he found himself last Friday at the wrong place, and at the wrong time. At the pub in Tel Aviv which a terrorist attacked […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Workaholism as Slavery The more technology develops, the more time we spend working. There is no respite. We email, call, text and work on the road, at home, maybe even in the bathroom. We work longer hours than previous generations, and work seems to encroach upon all areas of life. It takes a toll on […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Jacob’s Dying Words The Talmud tells a beautiful story about the origins of the quintessential Jewish prayer “Shma Yisrael”. According to the Talmud, the origins of Shma Yisrael are to be found in our parashah, as Jacob asks his sons to congregate around his deathbed. The children, not knowing that their father summoned them in […]

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The Identity of a Pharaoh / On being enslaved to the external The Torah introduces Pharaoh for the first time as “standing on the Nile”. This is not a mere geographical statement. Our sages explain that the concept of “standing on the Nile” implies an overall existential approach to life. The River Nile was the […]

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