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.

In The Image of God: B’reshit

In The Image of God: B'reshit B'reshit: Genesis 1:1 - 6:8   As the Torah scroll is open once more to its very first word, and the annual cycle of our Torah study begins again, we are immediately plunged into the grand story of creation of sacred space. In the...

A Kabbalistic Dig: V’Zot HaBrachah

A Kabbalistic Dig: V'Zot HaBrachah V'Zot HaBrachah: Deuteronomy 33:1 - 34:12   Several Chasidic Masters associate Moses with the Sephirah of Da’at of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The Sephirah of Da’at is known as the hidden Sephirah, situated as the threshold...

The Tears of Our Liberation: HaAzinu

The Tears of Our Liberation: HaAzinu HaAzinu: Deuteronomy 32:1 - 52   Found in this week’s Torah portion is a meditation for the High Holy Days.           Know, now, that I AM; I AM Is-ness itself. I AM that which manifests as Creation, there is nothing else. I...

Tuning in to God’s Voice: Ki Tavo

Tuning in to God's Voice: Ki Tavo Ki Tavo: Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8   As the rabbis of Talmudic times ordered the daily prayer schedule, they made sure we recite the Sh’ma—the central affirmation of our tradition—at least three times a day; during morning and...

Bridging Heaven & Earth: Ki Teitzei

Bridging Heaven & Earth: Ki Teitzei Ki Teitzei: Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19   As we find ourselves entering the second half of the book of Deuteronomy, our weekly parasha/portion contains a record of individual, familial, and communal laws and mitzvot. In the...

Humility is Not Humiliation: Shoftim

Humility is Not Humiliation: Shoftim Shoftim: Deuteronomy 16:18 - 21:9   This week is the first week of Elul, the month leading up to Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. It is traditionally a time dedicated to introspection, to reviewing the year that was, and to...

Waking Up From Our Collective Amnesia: Re’eh

Waking Up From Our Collective Amnesia: Re'eh Re'eh: Deuteronomy 11:26 - 16:17 See! I place before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, that you listen to the mitzvot of the Eternal your God, that I enjoin upon you today; and the curse if you do not listen...

The Rebel Within: Korach

The Rebel Within: Korach Korach: Numbers 16:1-18:32   This week’s Torah portion retells the famous story of the rebellion of Korach. Korach challenges Moses and Aharon’s authority and their system of rule over the Hebrews. “All the community are holy, each and...

Journey Through Our Inner Landscape: Sh’lach Lecha

Journey Through Our Inner Landscape: Sh'lach Lecha Sh'lach Lecha: Numbers 13:1-15:41 This week’s Torah portion exemplifies for me the powerful impact Torah study can have on our daily lives. The text brings us to the episode of the scouts Moses sends, under God’s...

The Many Branches of Our Inner Menorah: B’haalot’cha

The Many Branches of Our Inner Menorah: B'haalot'cha B'haalot'cha: Numbers 8:1-12:16 The Eternal spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and say to him, “When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light.” Aaron did so… This is...

Freedom From The Yoke of Desires: Nasso

Freedom From The Yoke of Desires: Nasso Nasso: Numbers 4:21-7:89   As we often hear, mindfulness practice is the art of being present to each moment, of paying attention to each experience in our everyday life. Interestingly enough, in Hebrew, the expression for...