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About Dr. Joel Roffman

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So far Dr. Joel Roffman has created 40 blog entries.

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. […]

Shoftim 5782 – Revisiting My Own Theology

Our friends, Dick and his wife are classical secular Jews. They do not attend synagogue regularly and do not follow the traditional rituals that so many of us do. As an example, his wife told Nancy about a particular restaurant with delicious pork chops. Well, Dick told me over dinner last week that he tries […]

Pinchas 5782 – Newsflash: The Changing of G-d’s ‘Mind’

A few weeks ago, Nancy and I were in Israel. A truly fabulous trip! One day, our group went to the Kotel – the Western Wall of the old temple. As you may recall, several years ago, there was a big brouhaha. Women, it seemed, were demanding to be able to pray there. Imagine such […]

Naso 5782 – The Importance of a Having a Name and of Being Named

At my dear mother’s funeral in 2002, I read part of a letter to her from the corporate offices of Walgreen’s. “Dear Mrs. Tobias (She had remarried for a time, several years after my father died), Thank you for your note to us about Ernie Gibson.” Ernie Gibson was the pharmacist at the Walgreens on […]

Kedoshim 5782 – Holiness in the World; Holiness within Ourselves

Today’s parashah, Kedoshim, is chock full of rules, and they fall into various categories. One category is called called chukim. These are commandments that seem to make little sense. An example prohibits us from mixing linen and wool in our clothing. Why is this sinful? Gd says it’s so, and so it is. Oh, various […]

Vayikra 5782 – Esther and the Still, Small Voice

I should tell you – I wasn’t thrilled as I read through today’s parashah. The thoughts of giving a D’var on it weren’t happy ones. Setting the stage for what is to come in Leviticus, we read in the entire parashah about ritual sacrifice – the types and the specifics. Ugh!

Later in the Bible, and […]

Terumah 5782 – So Where, Exactly, is the Holy Presence?

Some time back, I listened to an episode of a podcast called, “Freakonomics,” in which economic ideas are presented and discussed in an entertaining way. In this episode, Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, discussed the IKEA effect. IKEA, that is, the store. What researchers found was that if an individual creates something, they value it […]

Bo 5782 – What Will Your Story Be?

Summer of 1940. Winston Churchill (paraphrasing):

 “What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over … (France was lost to the Germans) the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of our civilization. Upon it depends our British life, and the long continuity of our institutions . . […]