Friday, June 25, 2010

Free opening line for a derashah

Opening lines can be tough to develop, and they help shape the derashah experience. So here's a free opener, for any rabbis surfing the web just before shabbos in search of an opening line for this week's derashah:

Rabbis need to be careful in crafting their derashos, both in terms of what they include and in terms of what they leave out. Often, whatever a rabbi has been reading or pondering of late can make it into the speech, and the result can be funny, or disastrous.

For example, I know one rabbi who got really into 18th century English poetry, to the extent that he began to deliver his derashos in iambic pentameter.

Another rabbi I know became addicted to recipes, and his speeches came to focus exclusively on food. The shul decided to move his Shabbos morning speech after the kiddush, since he was making people so hungry.

I’m usually pretty careful to avoid this habit, but I’m warning you now because this week I spent considerable time following the Wimbledon tennis match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut – you know, the one that lasted eleven hours and six minutes…

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