Yesterday I spent three hours in the library doing research. Not the same research that I had been doing for five years at the University of Minnesota with my nose deep in history books. Instead, by the end of the first two hours, I had a stack of five different editions of Torah translations, three different commentaries on the Torah portion and I had picked up and put down a handful to a half-dozen other commentaries, Midrash and more that I decided were not useful to my purposes.
What do I have to show for all of this work? More than two pages worth of notes and a bunch of different ideas about what I want to talk about. Now comes the hard part. Reducing all of this material into a 500-word D'var Torah. For those unfamiliar with this term, a D'var Torah is basically a short sermon but focuses more on the portion of the week and some of the commentaries related to it.
Much like making a sauce (something I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to do), you have to reduce and reduce and reduce until you get to the solid result. The advice I was given by my advisor is that this exercise is mostly about the process, and less about the product, although the product is important.
So my task for the next week? Make it relevant, and be ready to edit it.
The bottom line? This is so much fun! I could honestly have spent all day in the library doing this, but there are classes to get to.
Speaking of classes, back to homework.