The D'var Torah by Anna Hanau
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I love that Jews have the tradition of giving a d'var torah at a Shabbat meal. At a dinner party, conversation might flit about, from engaging debate to a lighthearted banter, and this is enjoyable. Someone may have important news or an exciting new idea to share. But it's different than the choreographed set piece of a d'var torah. This is the scene: You've eaten, you're full. You're schmoozing. Then someone taps a glass and says, "In this week's parsha, we learn that..." And we give the person our attention, and for two or five or more minutes we follow an exegetical journey in the Torah, contemporary ideas, values, challenges. It could be cute, it could be profound. We hear them say, "and this makes me think of..." and we also are provoked to think, without the complication of conversation to obscure our thinking before we articulate it. And we hear, "In conclusion, I bless us all that..." and the learning ends with the gift of an idea or questions to ponder. We not only eat, but share pieces of ourselves with others at the table, bringing Torah once again out of history and into the dining room, and creating time and space to enjoy the wisdom of our tradition. -Anna Hanau
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why do you think it was NOT deemed sacrilegious to discuss words of Torah at the table?

2. If you don't already have the practice of sharing words of Torah when you eat, what do you think of the idea? If you do this, how is a d'var Torah offered at a meal different than one offered, say, in shul or somewhere without food?

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Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)