Tonight I’m giving a dvar torah, and I’m nervous.
So I set my Twitter status to say exactly that. My cousin replied: What’s a dvar Torah — how about a translation for the rest of us? I told her that, literally, dvar means word, and a dvar torah is a word about the Torah — or, to be more accurate, several words about Torah. (A dvar Torah is most commonly given in synagogue before or after the Torah reading, and sometimes, they can get long. Here’s a tip for rabbis: Yes, you know tons more than I ever will. But five minutes of good solid stuff will stick with me, and most other congregants, better than 30 minutes of the requisite opening joke, some Torah, a personal story about some sick person, and then another joke.)
But, anyway. I’ve been trying to make myself more Torah-centric. Not that I ignore the Torah, per se, but because I want to be able to associate it more with my daily life. Hence, the disclaimer for my dvar Torah: that it may involve one or more of the following: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, action-movie fight scenes, having crushes on girls, four-letter words, and robots.
So, uh — what is a dvar Torah? It’s a word of Torah, as much as all words are words of Torah. Or, more simply, as my wife (blunt. tells-it-like-it-is. Australian.) said on the train this morning: It’s me crapping on about Torah.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.