Cutesy Dvar Torahs

Eva writes:

Did you ever notice that everyone always remembers that the bar mitzvah boy "spoke beautifully" but no one ever remembers what he said? They remember his posture, his sweet tone of voice, and his hand motions.

I was at a vort which was hosted in a backyard. The boy went up to the balcony on the second floor of the garage, took out a sheaf of papers and began delivering his 20 minute cute little speech. Something about it was just way too cocky for me.

There are all the generic dvar torahs for every different occasion that I can write down right now. One really famous one is by the Michtav Mieliyahu and is regarding love. Ahava comes from the lashon of hav– to give. I think we’ve all heard that one at least ten times.

The most famous Chanukkah one: Why do we celebrate eight days if the nes was only for seven days. Because nature is also a miracle.

A cute one for seminary girls in their first year of seminary: When Aharon went up to light the menorah it’s written in present tense because he had the same enthusiasm for doing the mitzvah as though it was the first time every time. The mussar haskel is that seminary year should stay with you forever, or something like that.

The problem with cutesy dvar torahs is that first of all you should have consideration for your guests who aren’t interested in hearing long drawn out speeches just for the sake of making a far flung connection to the mechutanim or to the chag, or whatever it is. Second of all it garners a whole generation of people (myself included) who hardly know any tanach, but who know many little cute dvar torahs.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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