In keeping with the spirit of the 21st century, JLF is jumping in with a blog to bring a fresh, Jewish-inspired word to you, our community.
The word “word” (how awkward was that?) is more than just a selection of letters that, when combined in a certain order, take on a specific meaning.
Have you ever sat around a Shabbat table and been given a “word”?
That would be pronounced “vort” of course, and is German and Yiddish for “word”, but does it have the same meaning?
It can do, literally, or it can also mean a “message” as in the Shabbat table situation, though it’s communicated in a briefer style than a dvar Torah or drasha.
When someone delivers a “vort”, it’s going to be a way of relaying a Torah message or moral through a story.
“Vort” can also describe a concisely expressed idea, so an idea or explanation you may have formed yourself, or have heard from someone else. So you may have an interesting “vort” on the situation in Syria, for example.
And then there is the Chasidic use of “vort” to describe an engagement party. It comes from the word of Torah that someone gives to wish the couple well.
In popular culture right now, it’s common to hear “word” used to round up or finish a statement or discussion. Originally it was “word up”, but who has the energy to use two when one can do? So if you emphatically agree with what was just said, “word” is your word.
We say we have a way with words here. Let’s just take that literally for now.