As I shared at our Rosh Hashanah services, and as part of our ongoing Adult Education, Temple Beth Ami has now taken the bold step of opening up the responsibility of learning and sharing Torah insights to everyone in our community. We look forward to learning and discussing by way of an added feature on our website, a d’var Torah blog called TBA Words of Torah. A portal for you, the members of our community, to share your teachings on the weekly portion.
All kinds of help are available today in understanding and teaching Torah. On the TBA webpage www.templebethami.org/dvar-torah-sign-up you will find the weekly Torah portion, the week it is read, and the chapters/verses. You will also find a link to the Wikipedia page for the portion, which contains summaries, insights and links to other d’vrei Torah.
Focus on one idea contained in the portion, it is easy to get lost in the many possibilities. Here are some basic questions to start with as you begin assembling your thoughts on the portion:
• What’s the simple meaning or literal translation?
• What did that signify in the context of its time?
• How has it been explained by the rabbis over the centuries?
• What should it convey to us today?
• Show respect for your audience. Chances are that many of them know as much about the material as you do. But don’t be intimidated by that either, because chances are even greater that most of them don’t.
• Be sure to translate any Hebrew word you use.
• Just because a d’var Torah primarily is designed to teach does not mean it may not entertain. A touch of humor is in order, as long as it is germane to the lesson.
• Make your comments appropriate to an audience of all ages
• Know what message you want to leave with the audience
• Please keep your d’var Torah under 800 words
An anniversary of Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or a birthday or anniversary, another special event are great reasons to write a d’var Torah. Maybe you like a particular portion or story and have been dying to share your insights. We are waiting for your d’var Torah! Submit your date request through the website: www.templebethami.org/dvar-torah-sign-up.
When your d’var Torah is complete, make sure it is submitted by the Tuesday before the week it will be read/studied. For example, if Vayera is being read from 11/1-11/8, the d’var Torah is due 10/28.