When my friend called me yesterday in a panic about her presentation for the women's shuir (learning) in honor of her father's passing, I knew I had to do something. So I calmed her down.
No, I told her, no one is expecting to hear deep Chassidic thought (teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbes, and others) from you. Nobody needs to learn about the Torah portion (the chapter read on Shabbat, in this case, "Pinchas"), from you. We either know it or we don't and at this point, you can't really help us one way or another.
But what you can do, I told her, is tell us about your father. That we can't learn about on our own.
So fighting nervousness, my friend did just that to an extremely receptive audience. We laughed along with her, and we sat in awe as she told us of a man, her father, who was very much like Pinchas. A man who stood up for what he thought was right.
My friend joked to the crowd saying she didn't know if her father could actually kill Zimri and Koshbi, but he sure was tough. Over kiddish, I assured her that indeed, her father could very well have done whatever it took to save the Jewish people.
After all, he acted to create and save one of my dearest friends, and that's good enough for me.