Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Beautiful D'var Torah on Parshat Vayechi

Today, Davis Academy 5th grader, Ryan Reiss, shared these words of Torah at a Davis Academy Board Meeting. His remarks were beautifully delivered and very well received. It is exciting to think that this was Ryan's FIRST D'var Torah. Surely the Jewish people can rejoice in knowing that he will only grow in his wisdom, humor, and appreciation of Jewish tradition. 

       Hello, my name is Ryan Reiss and I am currently in 5th grade, here at Davis Academy. Rabbi Micah asked if I would like to share a D’var Torah — a short speech about a weekly Torah portion – with you today.  Of course, I accepted his invitation.         
       To start off this D’var Torah, I will be reciting a poem/creative writing about the topic, blessing.
      “Food, water, Davis, an amazing family, love, supportive friends, awesome teachers. Those are just some of the many blessings that God has given me. I could go on for days listing them all. Blessings can be found anywhere if you look for them. I believe that they are little thank yous from God for what we have done for him. Of course not everything is going to be a blessing. I think those things make us appreciate the blessings in our lives even more. We should take time every day to say thank you for all we have. God gives us so much, and we should be more than grateful for it.”
      “Vayehi” is this week’s Parsha.  It is the last Parsha in the book of Bereshit or Genesis. The main topic is the character of Jacob, also known as Yisrael, offering blessings to his many children and grandchildren before he passes away.
      There are so many blessings in my life, and in our entire community, that it’s easy to relate to this week’s Parsha.  For me, one of those blessings is my Davis Academy experience.  I have made so many special friends on my journey so far at Davis. The teachers here are outstanding, and I am very excited to continue on my journey to the middle school. When I think back on the last six years, there are so many blessing moments: getting back from summer, winter, or spring break and seeing all of my friends again, playing football out on the playground, feeling stressed out about having to finish my current events, statistics project, and book report all in the same week, and finally completing the last project felt like it was heaven on earth. One thing that is just vivid in my mind is laughing out loud with all my best friends surrounding me at lunch. I have so many memories of lunches when I almost spit out my drink.

      If you think about it, this Parsha is really about “L’dor v’dor,” “From generation to generation.”  This means to me, that I am blessed to have the education, the family history and the support to allow me to carry on the Jewish religion, customs and values to my kids and grandkids, as they will carry it on to their kids and grandkids. When I was younger, I always sang the song, “L’dor v’dor,” without even thinking about what it meant. Now that I have written this D’var Torah, I now recognize how many blessings are hidden in these two meaningful words.  All you have to do is dig a little deeper to find them. Thank you all for listening. 


  1. Beautiful thoughts and stellar presentation. Great job, Ryan! You carry the torch of our traditions, values and menschlichkeit like a champ!

  2. Wisdom way beyond his age.
    He should continue to soar and be challenged. A mind like Ryan's
    Is rare and educational experiences should be a liberal arts tract. Learn about humanities, social sciences setting bar wide and high.

  3. Ryan how beautifully you weave words to express yourself beyond your years. You are a very special human being to have the ability to make others see the beauty in life and reflect on their own. I too, am grateful for Davis Academy. The Rabbi, the teachers and all the wonderful friends you have made that contributed to who you are. I thank all those that recognize in Ryan his abilities and have given him the opportunity to share them. I’m grateful for the academics at Davis and I’m even grateful for the joyous lunch time when he gets to be with his friends. Thank you Davis Academy and the Board for enriching Ryan’s life and being such a huge part in lighting the way for him. I honestly feel that along with Ryan’s parents and family, Davis Academy will be proud to have known our Mr. Reiss today and in the future.
    L’dor V’dor
    Pam Mayer
    A Very Proud Grandmother