Writing Your D’var Torah and Haftarah
The term “d’var Torah” literally means “a word about the Torah”. We use this term to describe a short set of remarks given by the one who is teaching the congregation something about a particular passage or idea from the Torah. Your d’var Torah will be a teaching about your Torah and Haftarah portion that you want to share with the congregation. Every weekly Torah portion has a Haftarah portion that goes with it. On some Shabbatot during the year, the Haftarah may be a special selection because of holidays or other significant dates on the Jewish calendar. In that case, the Haftarah will have more to do with the calendar than with the Torah portion. In any event, the d’var Torah should explore the important aspects of both the Torah and Haftarah portions and their relationship.
Look for a significant idea or two that you think the portions are stressing. Those are the key ideas that the Torah and Haftarah want us to learn and that you should focus on in your teaching.
Your d’var Torah should reflect your personal thoughts, ideas and opinions about the passages that you will be chanting for the congregation. Your remarks will be most interesting to the congregation if you speak about something in the portions that you think is important and really care about. Your d’var Torah should reflect your own thinking and the learning that you gained from studying your portions.
You will share your d’var Torah with the congregation just before you chant your Torah portion. Most B’nai Mitzvah give a d’var Torah that is 1 ½ to 2 pages, double spaced, in length. You might have a little more to say, or you might have a little less. Remember that quality is more important that quantity.