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Rabbi Chaim Coffman
Rabbi Coffman has helped people from all across the spectrum to prepare themselves properly for Orthodox Conversion to Judaism. His students admire his vast knowledge and appreciate his warm, personal attention and endearing sense of humor.
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Welcome to Rabbi Chaim Coffman's Blog!

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog, Beyond Orthodox Conversion to Judaism.

The conversion process can be a lengthy and daunting one to say the least and I want you to know that I am here to help you through it.

I have been teaching newcomers to Judaism for over a decade and over the last few years I have seen that conversion candidates really lack the support and knowledge they need to navigate the conversion process and successfully integrate into the Orthodox Jewish community.

I created my mentorship program in order to help make this whole experience as smooth and as painless as possible! (Can't do much about the growing pains, though ;)

Feel free to get to know me a little through the posts on my blog and visit the mentorship and syllabus page if you are interested in possible joining us.

I sincerely wish you all the best in your search for truth and spiritual growth.

Looking forward to meeting you,
Chaim Coffman

My Rebbe, Rav Moshe Sternbuch

In case you were wondering why I have all of these articles written by Rav Moshe Sternbuch, he is my Rebbe, and one of the gedolei hador (greatest Rabbis of our generation).

Rav Sternbuch fully endorses me and supports my mentorship program.

He is the address for all of my halachic or hashkafic (practical and philosophical) questions that I or my students may have.

The articles are based on his weekly talks on the Torah portion that the Rav gives in Jerusalem in his kollel. As a member of the kollel I get first dibbs on the photocopies and I type them up for my blog so you can all benefit from the Rav's erudition and insight.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How do I Incorporate the Secular World into my "New" Life

A common problem that most baalei teshuvah and converts have is how to incorporate their new lifestyle back into their old lifestyle. Once someone decides to either become religious or want to convert, they are very excited about their new found practices and eager to put what they learn into practice.

What about their old friends? What about the workplace? Is it throw out the old and in with the new? Do they straddle both worlds ie keep the good parts of the secular world with their new belief system?

How does this work or does it?

An important factor in this discussion is how we would like our home to look. If Torah is the ideal that we try and live and incorporate in our lives, do we want to bring the street into our house?

Yes, we have to be in the secular world so we can earn a livelihood. It doesn't mean, though we have to integrate these negative values in our lives. Movies, newspapers....many things that could possibly be antithetical to Torah.

If these things are full of lies, speak loshan hara, nivul peh...why would we want these things in our homes and why would we want to expose our kids to them?

Do they have any redeeming qualities that they give us? if there are, then is it possible to straddle both worlds?

The answer is that we must use secular world to be able to earn a livelihood. Earning a livelihood is only a means to an end to be able to learn Torah. Once we are "done" providing for our families, then we have an obligation to learn Torah.

This means that really, we are doing everything in our power to live a Torah lifestyle. We, as Torah Jews, have an obligation to sanctify the profane.

In some ways, this is what the festive mean we make on Purim is all about. We celebrate Haman's downfall, through this feast while at the same time, we joke and are merry.

At the same time, though, if we drink too much and only words of folly and stupidity come out, then we are not allowed to drink that much on Purim. The gemara tells us that one way to test a person is to see how they react when they have drank alchohol.

If only words of Torah come out, then we see that the neshama has been infused with the proper "soul food" and that person makes a tremendous kiddush Hashem.

The Ramchal tells us that we have the ability to sanctify every moment, either we are going up or down. Every day is a new opportunity to sanctify the profane.

May we always be up to the challenge and succeed!


Ask the Rabbi said...

What about covering ones hair, at what point do you tell your students to cover?