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.

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...

We Lose Our self to Find Our Self: B’midbar

We Lose Our self to Find Our Self: B'midbar B-midbar: Numbers 1:1 - 4:20 The midrash relating to the opening of this week's Torah portion, "B'midbar," meaning: "In the wilderness;" asks its reader: "Why was the Torah given in the wilderness?" Why not, our rabbis...

The Pursuit of Holiness: Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

The Pursuit of Holiness: Acharei Mot-Kedoshim Acharei Mot-Kedoshim: Leviticus 16:1-20:27 The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the entire Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the Eternal your God, am holy. [Lev. 19:1-2] Most...

We Are Energy Beings: Tazria-Metzora

We Are Energy Beings: Tazria-Metzora Tazria-Metzora: Leviticus 12:1-15:33 This week’s Torah portion is, admittedly, a challenge to our modern sensibilities. This portion talks about tzara’at, a skin affliction most translators define as leprosy; although no one knows...

Joy and the Possibility of Forgiveness: Sh’mini

Joy and the Possibility of Forgiveness: Sh'mini Sh'mini: Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The inaugural ceremony of the Tabernacle’s dedication and the ordination of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood which began with last week’s Torah portion, concludes this week. “BaYom...

The Light of Our Heart: Tzav

The Light of Our Heart: Tzav Tzav: Leviticus 6:1-8:36   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...