About Dr. Joel Roffman

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So far Dr. Joel Roffman has created 47 blog entries.

Parashat Vayechi – The Blessing of Remembering

I am in the midst of a project at home. I’m making a written record of my most treasured belongings – few in number though they may be – and deciding on what is to become of them when I die. For those of you know me, the details I’ve included in these files would […]

Parashat Lech L’cha: Thank You to the Following Kehillah Members

Lech L’cha is one of my favorite parashiot in the Torah. In it, Gd tells Abraham to seek a new life in a new land, where his people will ultimately grow in number. Leave your comfort zone, Avram! Leave all that is familiar. Be bold. Seek something better. And I, Gd, will be with you. […]

Exploring the Arctic; Finding Ourselves

I want to thank all of you for the honor of presenting the d’var Torah on this special day.

As many of you know, Nancy and I recently went on a long trip to the Arctic. In fact, the company that we went with, National Geographic, only makes one such voyage each year, and the captain […]

Parashat Ki Tetzei – Revenge Against Amalek or Drive A Mercedes? Our Choice.

In the early 1950s, the new State of Israel faced a difficult choice. Should it open diplomatic relations with Germany? If not, would Israel avoid international organizations that accepted Germany’s membership? What if Israel hosted international meetings? Would they exclude Germany? Writer Ernest Renan said, “Whoever wishes to make history is obligated to forget history. […]

B’chukotai- 5783 – Recognizing What Is Ours To Do

Thank you for joining me today and helping me celebrate the 59th anniversary of my bar mitzvah. I have tried to give the D’var each year on this day, and I read through some of these recently. On my 50th anniversary, I spoke of the moment – the exact moment – when I became a […]

Vayakhel-Pekudei – 5783 – Becoming God’s Hosts

After I signed up to give the D’var today, I looked at the narrative in Vayakhel. “Construction of the Tabernacle.” Gather the goats’ hair, the dolphin skins (dolphin skins in the desert? Whatever.), etc. “They made 50 loops on the edge of the outermost cloth . . .” Ideas for a D’var? Not yet. Then […]

Vayishlah 5783 – Jacob’s Transformation is Our Own

A recent subject of National Public Radio’s show called RadioLab, was “transformations.” Examples were given of how, sometimes surprisingly, people are not necessarily locked in to a specific pattern of behavior. Behavior can and sometimes does change. This is an appropriate theme for my D’var Torah, as it relates to Jacob, because today’s parashah is […]

Vayera 5783 – Abraham’s Chutzpah – the Foundation of Judaism

Well, things hadn’t been going so well. Adam and Eve screwed up their cushy surroundings in the Garden, Cain displayed his anger management problems in the most violent of ways. The Tower of Babel demonstrated the hubris that humans could have. Build a tower to the heavens? Why not? Gd created order, but humans created […]

Shabbat Shuvah 5783 – The Sacred Power of the Days of Awe

Each day during morning minyan in the month of Elul, we hear the blast of the shofar. On Rosh Hashanah as we hear the shofar, we read in our  prayer book that the still, small voice is speaking to us. And we hear it if we  listen. The hazzan’s voice stays with me for a […]

Ki Teitse 5782 – Against Hate

(Adapted from a teaching by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.)

Ki Teitse contains more laws – 72 – than any other parsha in the Torah, One verse, however, stands out because it is so counter-intuitive:

“Do not despise an Edomite, because he is your brother. Do not despise the Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land.” (Deut. […]