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: 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 – April 3-9, 2016

Tazria Leviticus 12:1 - 13:59   Sin is a Divine Gift   Our weekly Torah reading begins laying out spiritual practices connected to human birth: “Ishah ki tazria… – When a woman conceives…” [Lev. 12:2] In his commentary on these three words, Rashi (11th Century,...

Torah Reflections – March 27 – April 2, 2016

Sh'mini Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47 Joy And The Possibility of Forgiveness   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 HaSh’mini –...

Torah Reflections – March 20 – 26, 2016

Tsav 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 deeper...

Torah Reflections – March 13 – 19, 2016

VaYikra Leviticus 1:1 - 5:26 The Fire of Divine Love   The last few Torah portions of the Book of Exodus were, as we have seen, focused on the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness; a Sacred Space amidst the traveling Israelite tribes where God came to dwell....

Torah Reflections – February 28 – March 5, 2016

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

Torah Reflections – February 21 – 27, 2016

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...

Torah Reflections – February 14 – 20, 2016

Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20 - 30:10 The Olive Oil Paradigm          You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light, to kindle an eternal light. Aaron and his sons shall set it up in the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain...

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