Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Symbolisms of Human Dignity When I was a college student, I found myself one morning sitting in a class next to a person who was nonchalantly sketching a swastika. I immediately felt offended and upset. Being Israeli, I had no qualms about telling her what I think of the inappropriateness of sketching such a […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Respecting Boundaries/Knowing Your Limits   Korach was an incredible success story. Korach was super wealthy, and he also enjoyed social prominence, wisdom and charisma. And Korach also occupied the prestigious and meaningful spiritual status and role of being a Levy. But all this was not enough for Korach. Korach wanted more, much more. Korach wanted to take even […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Democracy in Judaism Our Parashah includes the famous story about the spies whom Moses sent to check out the Land of Israel, in order to assess the land’s resources, and the military capacities of its inhabitants. Ten of the twelve spies submitted a defeatist report to the nation, and caused a devastating crisis of faith […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Judaism and the Death Penalty On Wednesday, the State of Nebraska abolished the death penalty, thus becoming the 18th state which no longer exercises capital punishment. In Europe, the death penalty was by and large abolished during the 20th century. What is the Jewish approach towards capital punishment? On the one hand, formally the death penalty is […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Our Mission in Life “And I shall betroth You forever, and I shall betroth You with righteousness and law, and with loving-kindness and with mercy, and I shall betroth You in faith, and You shall know G-d”. In other words, in order to wed G-d, in order to nurture a heartfelt, intimate, intense and impassioned relationship with the […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Helping out the Spiritually Needy  Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), also known as the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, was one of the greatest figures in Jewish history. Several years after the Nazis searched out, and murdered every third Jew in the world in hate, the Rebbe vowed to search out, and reach out to every Jew […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Sin of Racism The prophet Amos lived in Israel 3 thousand years ago. He fought for justice and human dignity. Last week’s first parashah (Acharey Mot) has a corresponding haftarah from the Book of Amos. This Haftarah commences with the following words: “Behold the Children of Israel, you are like Africans to Me [no […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Those Who Protect Us Israel mourned its dead on Tuesday. Over twenty three thousand people lost their lives as soldiers and victims of terror, since the state’s establishment in 1948. The next day, the festivities commenced, and Israelis celebrated sixty seven years of independence and political sovereignty. The proximity between Israel’s Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) […]

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Rabbi Sessler – D’var Torah

Admitting Our Mistakes Moshe Dayan was a celebrated Israeli general and statesman. Before the Yom Kippur War, Dayan was a staunch political hawk. After the war, Dayan reassessed his geo-political sensibilities, and became a pragmatic dove. When asked about his political metamorphosis by the press, Dayan famously retorted: ” Only a donkey doesn’t change his […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Jewish Pride I read this week in the Israeli press about a Syrian boy who became “addicted” to matzah in an Israeli hospital. This seven year old boy underwent 17 operations in Syria, after being hit by a mortar shell in the raging civil war. The Syrian doctors informed the kid’s mother that they can’t […]

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