What is a D’var Torah?

What is a D’var Torah?

What does the D’var Torah mean? A D’var means “a word” – so a word of The Torah. The D’var Torah readings are often referred to during Barmitzvah or Batmitzvah ceremonies. Your D’var Torah is a great chance for you to learn about your Torah portion and relate on how it is relevant to your life. For a Batmitzvah girl in a United Synagogue, the D’var Torah may be her only contribution to the Shabbat ceremony. It can also take place on a Friday night service.

Giving the D’var Torah during Shabbat is not so much a speech as it is a mitzvah.

It is very likely that the D’var Torah will carry a life lesson, backed up by passages from certain Jewish texts like the Talmud or Mishnah.   The exact portion relating to a section (parashah) of the Torah – typically the weekly Torah portion.

So in summary the D’var Torah is your opportunity to communicate and articulate to the congregation, the weekly portion of the Torah.

The D’var Torah can also often be delivered in a communal hall, or as part of a smaller, more family-oriented celebration at home. It may delivered at a Batmitzvah party rather than at a Synagogue.

Borehamwood Synagogue provide an excellent summary of preparing for a D’var Torah. You can read about it here: http://www.borehamwoodshul.org/lifecycle/files/GuidelinesForDvarTorah.pdf

A brief checklist for preparing for the D’var Torah is as follows:

  1. Read and understand your Torah portion – try and interpret the portion
  2. Discuss the portion with your Rabbi
  3. Interpret the portion as to what it means, the teachings and implications
  4. Summarise your readings
  5. Write a few paragraphs on the portion and explain why you found this meaningful
  6. It is important to relate this to your own circumstances and to you becoming a Barmitzvah or Batmitzvah
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