Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

From Death to Exceeding Life

Israel Krystal lives in the city of Haifa in Israel. Israel is a Holocaust survivor. During the Holocaust, Israel lost his wife and two children. He survived Auschwitz, and weighed only 82 pounds upon liberation. At that point, he was a walking skeleton.

After the war, Israel moved to the Land of Israel, and has been living there ever since, in the northern city of Haifa. Israel remarried, and he and his second wife brought to the world two children.

Last Wednesday, Israel received an exciting announcement. His daughter, who is well into her eighties, was contacted by representatives of the Guinness World Records last Wednesday. She was officially informed that her father’s personal documents had been scrutinized and authenticated, and that he is currently, officially, the oldest man in the world.

Israel was born in September 1903, and he is currently 112 years old (one hundred and twelve years old). Israel is blessed with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also wears a big kippah which covers much of his head, and he prays every morning. Israel loves his family, he loves life, and he loves G-d.

This Shabbat we are concluding our annual reading of the Book of Exodus, and it is only befitting for us to salute Mr. Israel Krystal in this context. For Mr. Israel Krystal exemplifies our people’s miraculous exodus and resurrection from the genocidal enslavement in the valley of death known as the Holocaust. Israel personifies our people’s relentless and incomparable resilience, tenacity, love of life and love of G-d. He is the embodiment of what it truly means to be free, politically as well as spiritually.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sessler

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