About Dr. Joel Roffman

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So far Dr. Joel Roffman has created 39 blog entries.

Bo 5780 – Pharaoh was Actually a Prisoner. Are You?

In the Talmud, we read, “At first, the evil impulse is called a wayfarer, then a guest, finally a master.” Another rabbi says, “At first, the evil impulse is as thin as a spider’s gossamer thread, but in the end it is as thick as a cart-rope.” Why this tendency for evil impulses to grow […]

Vayashev 5780 – Judaism’s Lesson: Don’t Despair!

“A minyan of Comfort” is the name of a widely used prayer book in houses of mourning. It is an especially popular book in Conservative Jewish congregations. We gather to comfort those who mourn. And they, in turn, accept our comfort.

But in today’s parashah, we read, “And Jacob refused to be comforted.” He had been […]

Lech Lecha 5780 – Go.Become. The Essence of Judaism

Lech Lecha – what does it mean? it could simply mean, “Go forth,” but look, this is Jewish scripture. It has been parsed for centuries. For rabbis, the more cryptic, the better. And also, the words are followed by such evocative phrases like, “to a land that I will show you,” and, “I will bless […]

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5780 – A New Application of Zachor – Remember

Last month, I saw a patient in the office named Mike. Mike is a fully alert and competent 77-year-old man who has been through lots of heart and circulatory issues. He had a major heart attack in 1990, 29 years ago, when he was 48. It left his heart quite damaged. He had 4-vessel coronary […]

Pinchas 5779 – But on the Other Hand

In the 2004 Presidential campaign, Senator John Kerry said that he was for the Iraq war before he was against it. He was caricatured for the entire campaign, and may even have lost the election, in part, because he was thought to be a “flip-flopper.”

A few weeks ago, Joe Biden, currently running for President, was […]

Bechuchotai 5779 – An Affirmation of My Judaism 55 Years After My Bar Mitzvah

There are so many topics that I could speak about today:

—Nancy and I recently took a trip to trip to Japan. The radically different culture of the Japanese could easily be woven into a D’var.

—My recent bicycle marathon to support the MS Society. Throughout that very long ride, I kept thinking, “There must be a […]

Vayikra 5779 – Judaism and Instruction Manuals

A couple of weeks ago, a box came to our door. A very large box. I mean really, the box was taller than me! Lucy, it seems, has outgrown her overnight “pack and play,” and she will be visiting soon. The large box contained her new crib. And not only a crib mind you, but […]

Bo 5779 – Looking Ahead to the Past

We are in the midst of the seminal moments of our narrative as a people, and so I’m honored to give the D’var today. A couple of anecdotes to start, one recent and one much older. I will then relate them to today’s parashah.

In what will be remembered as one of the great feats in […]

Lech Lecha 5779 – Lech Lecha! Are You Ready?

You may remember that the phrase lech lecha is one of my favorite expressions in the Torah. I used it when I gave my Kehillahversary talk last spring, speaking of how our members faced a difficult choice when services were terminated at Beit Aryeh. We collectively made a bold decision, and we’ve been rewarded for […]

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 – Tasting Eternity

Thank you for the honor of presenting a D’var Torah on Rosh Hashanah.

Our lives follow many rhythms as we go through the year – the seasons, the English calendar, birthdays, and others. To me, Rosh Hashanah means that the year is “officially” starting. The Holidays coincide with the academic year, and for so much of […]