Torah Reflections

Each week, Rabbi Olivier prepares a written reflection on the weekly Torah portion. These provide yet another way to discover the texts sacred to Judaism and to prepare for Shabbat each week.

Torah Reflections: April 12, 2019

Metzora Leviticus 14:1 - 15:33 The Liberating Power of Generosity This week marks the beginning of our Passover preparation. This spring cleaning is both an outer process of emptying our homes of the forbiddenchametz (product made of leavened wheat, barley, rye, oats,...

Torah Reflections: March 24 – 30, 2019

Sh'mini Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47   What is God's Will For Me? Why Are We Here? Growing up, I always had difficulties, with the concept of “doing God’s will” that my rabbis often spoke of. Somehow, I was supposed to do “God’s will” in all my daily actions. For them, doing...

Torah Reflections March 17 – 23, 2019

Tzav Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36   To The End of The Universe Tonight, at our first Passover Seder, we will begin telling the story of our exodus from Egypt raising the matzah and saying in one voice: Ha lachma anya… This is the bread of affliction, the bread of...

Torah Reflections: March 10 – 16, 2019

VaYikra Leviticus 1:1 - 5:26   How Will We Answer The Call?  “VaYikra el Mosheh vaYedaber YHVH elav me-ohel moed – He called to Moses. The Eternal One spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting.” [Lev. 1:1] Thus begins not only this week’s Torah portion, but the Book...

Torah Reflections: March 3 – 9, 2019

Pekudei Exodus 38:21 - 40:38   Practices on The Way to Sinai   This week’s Torah portion brings the book of Exodus to a close. On the surface, these past weeks told the story of our Exodus from Egypt (Mitzrayim) and our experience at Sinai; yet at a deeper...

Torah Reflections: February 3 – 9, 2019

T'rumah Exodus 25:1 - 27:19   The Kabbalah of Our Beings   Judaism sees each of us, every being, as a channel of the most sacred. As such we are called to make ourselves selfless compassionate servants of the greater good and allow Wisdom to infuse all our...

Torah Reflections: January 27 – February 2, 2019

Mishpatim Exodus 21:1 - 24:18   The Angel Within Can you imagine what it must have been like the day after? Just yesterday we were at the foot of Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. It was big. It was thunderous. Our bodies were shaking, our senses were...

Torah Reflections: January 13 – 19, 2019

B'Shalach Genesis 13:17 - 17:16   Why Did They Have to Drown? The Song at The Sea with its archaic Hebrew style—when compared to the rest of Torah—is probably the most ancient text in the entire Jewish canon. It describes Moses and the Israelites, having crossed the...

Torah Reflections: December 16 – 22, 2018

Vayechi Genesis 47:28 - 50:26   Conditioned Happiness Last week as I studied the Torah portion, after reading numerous rabbinic commentaries, an image emerged of Jacob’s soul-to soul connection to his son, Benjamin. Upon reading this week’s portion and many more...

Torah Reflections: December 2 – 8, 2018

Mikeitz Genesis 41:1 - 44:17   Blessing Our Children We find ourselves, this week, at a junction in Joseph’s life. After what had seemed like an ongoing downward spiral which began with his brothers throwing him into a pit, and that came to a head with his...

Torah Reflections: March 18 – 24, 2018

Tzav Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36   The Light of Our Heart In my approach to Torah, I see the text as myth, not reality. I presuppose that, as such, the stories it conveys speak of universal archetypes relating to the human spiritual journey, and seek to unpack the...

Torah Reflections: March 11 – 17, 2018

VaYikra Leviticus 1:1 - 5:26 A Major Step in Evolving World Consciousness The opening of the Book of Leviticus showcases a momentous event in Western history, yet it goes mostly unnoticed. In it, we witness a major step forward in the evolution of Western...

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