Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

   בס”ד Words that Heal, Words that Kill In Judaism, words are holy and sacred. The world was created by Divine speech, teaches us the opening chapter of the Torah.  Words are big in Jewish spirituality. So much so, that the concluding book of the Torah is actually called “Words” (“Devarim”). Moreover, in the opening […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד War & Peace: Forty Years Later As a community, we are commemorating this year the most formative event in the lives of so many of us, the Islamic Revolution in Iran back in 1979. However, this event was not the sole tumultuous historical upheaval, which took place in the Middle East in 1979. The […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

  בס”ד The Purpose of a Mitzvah Our parashah is called “Tzav”, which is from the same root as the word “mitzvah.” In this context, it is noteworthy to note that one of the most prevalent religious misconceptions of Jewish-Americans is that the word “mitzvah” means “a good deed.” A mitzvah is not a good […]

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Rabbi Sessler’s D’Var Torah

בס”ד The Art of Giving  Throughout history, different thinkers offered different views of what they see as the supreme good and value in life. For Sigmund Freud, man is chiefly an erotic being, driven by his libido. For Nietzsche, man is the “power-seeking-animal”, and “the will to power” is the driving force of our actions. […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

  בס”ד Postcard from Israel Mark Twain famously observed the striking dissonance between the enormity of Israel’s sheer metaphysical significance, and the minuteness of its physical scope, by saying: “Israel has more history than geography.” Being in Israel this week, I was struck once more by the astute nature of this brilliant observation. Ehud Barak […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

בס”ד   Broken Glass The Jewish world commemorates tonight the 80th anniversary of what came to be known historically as “Kristallnacht,” the night of the broken glass, in which the most widespread and lethal pogrom of Nazi Germany against its Jews took place in 1938. When Hannah Arendt, a German-Jewish thinker, wrote about the Holocaust, […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד The Veracity of Torah Philosopher Immanuel Kant famously spoke of the “crooked timber of humankind.”  By this, Kant meant to say that we mortals are akin to a warped piece of wood, or a trunk of a tree, that could never be completely and fully straightened out, and rendered perfectly and utterly symmetrical and […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד Holiness: A Sublime Lifetime Endeavor For Israeli theologian Yeshayahu Leibowitz, nothing was more spiritually heinous, vulgar and repugnant than Korach’s grotesque and preposterous theological assertion in the commencement of our parsha that “Kol ha’eda kedoshim,” namely that we are all intrinsically and inherently holy, simply because of our sheer biological facticity — because we […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד True Humility Our book and parashah start out with the Hebrew word “Vayikra” (which means “And He called upon”). G-d calls Moses. But something is strange and unusual, about the way this word, “Vayikra”, is written in a Torah scroll. The concluding letter of the word “Vayikra,” is written with an unusually small Aleph. […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’Var Torah

בס”ד The Price of Hate Three times in our history we went into exile. The first time we went into exile was after the selling of Joseph, about which we read in this Shabbat’s parshah. The second time was after the death of King Solomon. King Solomon had two sons who just couldn’t get along. […]

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