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: 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...

Torah Reflections: March 4 – 10, 2018

Vayak'hel - Pekudei Exodus 35:1 - 40:38 Our Spiritual Attitude Toward Work This week’s double portion in our Torah reading marks the conclusion of the Book of Exodus. The construction of the Tabernacle begins in earnest, only preceded by Moses gathering the entire...

Torah Reflections: February 25 – March 3, 2018

Ki Tissa Exodus 30:11 - 34:35 What if Moses Never Came Back? When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, the people gathered against Aaron and said to him: Arise, make us a god who will go before us, for that fellow Moses—the man who...

Torah Reflections: February 11 – 17, 2018

T'rumah Exodus 25:1 - 27:19 Creating an Inner Sanctuary This week’s Torah portion opens with the famous verse: “V’asu Li mik’dash, v’Shachan’ti b’tocham,” usually translated: “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” [Exod. 25:8] Though from this...

Torah Reflections: February 4 – 10, 2018

Mishpatim Exodus 21:1 - 24:18 Our Highest Spiritual Principles When a person’s ox injures a neighbor’s ox and it dies, they shall sell the live ox and divide its price; they shall also divide the dead animal. If, however, it is known that the ox was in the habit of...

Torah Reflections: January 28 – February 3, 2018

Yitro Exodus 18:1 - 20:23 One With the One Now Moses went up to God. The Eternal One called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob and declare to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on...

Torah Reflections: January 21 – 27, 2017

B'shalach Exodus 13:17 - 17:16 Then! This week’s Torah portion has all the traits of a great adventure novel. We ran away, but they pursued us. We took an unexpected turn that brought us to the edge of an impassable sea; and they were closing in on us fast. But at the...

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