When dreaming of bar or bat mitzvah bliss most youngsters will imagine the party. . . the music, the dancing, the awesome games, and of course. . . the gifts!
But most tend to not fantasize about their ‘amazing’ haftorah speech.
Yet, the speech frequently turns out to be one of the most memorable parts of the whole occasion. In fact, many bar and bat mitzvah “grads” name their speech as the most rewarding and meaningful aspect of their initiation into Jewish adulthood.
So. . . if the speech can result in an experience so momentous, why not delve right into it?
This article, although seemingly not related to bar or bat mitzvahs (and about moralist Peter Singer, a professed atheist), sparked some ideas in us and absolutely jumped out as a resource for compelling mitzvah speech topics.
Although the topics in it may not apply to every haftorah portion, it reminds us that we don’t need to look too far beyond current societal issues to tap into age-old themes.
For example, Singer discusses the modern duty of charity — or tzedakah in Hebrew, literally meaning justice or righteousness, but used to describe charity in Judaism.
He also talks about the responsibility of current generations to consider future generations in their present-day decision making and actions; something about which Judaism is deeply conscientious.
When contemplating the substance of a mitzvah speech, it’s essential to get to the core kernel of what the haftorah is about. The story may seem somewhat foreign or outdated, but chances are it has something to do with issues we are still facing today. So, if you need a little inspiration, look to modern day moralists like Singer (in hip news sites like gawker, no less!) and you’ll likely be on your way to creating the most momentous and meaningful part of your mitzvah.