Everybody Has a Breaking Point

Golda Meir contemplated suicide in the opening days of the Yom Kippur War. Yitzhak Rabin suffered a breakdown, shortly before the Six-Day War. Menachem Begin retired as Prime Minister midterm, exclaiming, אינני יכול יותר “I can’t take this anymore.” And Winston Churchill, the greatest statesman humanity had known in the 20th century, suffered from recurrent […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Judaism and the Lust for Life Irving stone called his biography of Vincent van Gogh “The lust for life.” The same title can be used to describe Judaism. Many religions shy away from, and categorically prohibit, some of life’s chief sensuous pleasures as sinful and unworthy. For example, in Islam alcohol is strictly prohibited […]

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Judaism and the Lust for Life

Irving stone called his biography of Vincent van Gogh “The lust for life.” The same title can be used to describe Judaism. Many religions shy away from, and categorically prohibit, some of life’s chief sensuous pleasures as sinful and unworthy. For example, in Islam alcohol is strictly prohibited under any circumstances. A Buddhist monk may […]

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Moses and His Children

 In our parshah, The Torah states: “These are the descendants of Moses and Aaron.” But lo and behold, the parshah then goes on to only mention Aaron’s children, and not a word about Moses’ children. What can we learn about the fact that the Torah has nothing meaningful to tell us about Moses’ children, except […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Keeping the Faith There are different ways to conceptualize the 613 mitzvoth in Judaism. One such way, is to divide the mitzvoth between the mitzvoth between G-d and a human being, and the mitzvoth between one human being and another. An example of a mitzvah between an individual and G-d is the obligation to […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Between Slavery and Freedom It is shocking to think that only 154 years ago, slavery was a living reality in this country. Lamentably, even today, millions of people still live and work in slave-like conditions around the world. Our parashah stipulates that slavery must be limited in time, and conditional. But why didn’t the […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד It’s Not About Islam Last October, during Shabbat services, when word got out that a terrorist murdered Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, one of our congregants approached me and asked “It was a Muslim, right?” I answered: “No, he is not a Muslim. He is a white Christian.” Our congregant looked very confused […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד On Human Dignity World War Two was the bloodiest war in the history of civilization, with some fifty million fatalities. When the Allies finally emerged triumphant, Winston Churchill ended his final speech with five words: “Advance Britain, long live freedom”.  There was no mockery of the vanquished in his discourse, let alone rejoicing, at […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

   בס”ד The Burning of the Notre Dame: A Jewish Spiritual Perspective I used to live at the very heart of the city of Paris, a mere two-minute walk from the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was partially burnt earlier this week. Like many people, I was saddened to see this monumental structure on fire. Reflecting […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

    בס”ד          Why is this Shabbat Called “Shabbat Hagadol”? The Shabbat before Passover has a special spiritual nickname. It is called “Shabbat Hagadol” / the “Great Shabbat.” Our sages conjecture various reasons as to why this Shabbat is called “Shabbat Hagadol.” The most common sensical reason is that we read a special haftarah/prophetic reading this […]

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