B´nai Mitzvah Speech

B´nai Mitzvah


Every Bar/Bat Mitzvah enjoys the honor of preparing and delivering three speeches. These include introductions to the Torah and Haftara Portions, as well as a larger D´var Torah. The length of these writings is not important; rather they should endeavor simply to cover the material.

1. TORAH INTRODUCTION: This is a simple summary of the Parasha
(portion of the week) that is assigned to the specific week of your event. … . . .
It covers the entire portion as given in the hand-out booklet, a photo-offset from The Torah: A Modern Commentary, edited by Rabbi Gunther Plaut. Typically, this speech ranges from two to five printed pages.

2. HAFTARA INTRODUCTION: Again, this represents merely a summary of the Haftara Portion of your Shabbat, which is located in its entirety in thehand-out study booklet. Usually it is taken from the Prophetic writings. A few sentences about your prophet and the century of his teachings should be included. Also, it is often appropriate to mention the circumstances of time in which the prophet wrote these chapters. Usually, an encyclopedia or the internet will offer more than enough information.

3. THE D´VAR TORAH: This is the serious element of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah writing. The D´var Torah should be derived from the Torah or Haftara Portion. It could be a line, a word, or an idea that inspires and informs the student´s words. The D´var Torah should share with the congregation what the chosen text meant in its own day as well as lessons derived from that text for today. There should be a personal reflection on the lessons, with examples to which the student can relate personally. Finally, gracious "thank yous" should be added. Again, length is not important - once the ideas are settled upon, these have a tendency to practically "write themselves".

These three exercises are not produced in a vacuum. It is always a "family endeavor". Few students write these alone. Rather they are a product of individual effort and family discussion and help. Each family can best determine the amount of aid appropriate in your own home. Of course all students (and parents) will be aided in these tasks with significant assistance and input from the Rabbi and Cantor.

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