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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.
Friday, February 12, 2010

Battling Amaleik: Preparing Courselves for the Final Tests Before Moshiach By Rav Moshe Sternbuch

“And Yisro heard…” (Shemos 18:1) What did Yisro hear? He heard about the miracles of the splitting of the sea and the war with Amaleik (Rashi, Shemos 18:1)
Yisro was inspired to convert and join the Jewish people after these two events. We can understand why hearing of the Almighty’s miraculous Krias Yam Suf (Splitting of the Reed Sea) was an impetus for Yisro to join up with Klal Yisrael, but how did the war with Amaleik inspire Yisro to make this life-changing decision?
Chazal tell us that the entire world felt the miracle of the splitting of the sea. All bodies of water in existence parted simultaneously, so that everyone would recognize the great miracle that Hashem was performing for the Jewish people. One could argue that there has been no greater display of Divine power ever before in history.
Yisro was particularly impressed by one aspect of this miracle. Mitzrayim tried to destroy the Jewish people by drowning their male children in the water, and measure for measure, they were punished on the sea. The Hashgacha Protis, personal Divine interaction made Yisro recognize that Hashem was the one and only power in the world.
After this great miracle, the entire world was in awe of the Almighty. Nobody dared to touch His chosen people. Only one nation, Amaleik, had the audacity to attack Klal Yisrael and thereby cool off this feeling of fear.
Yisro witnessed the great miracles that took place, as well as Amaleik reaction to what had transpired. He understood that if it was possible to defy the Almighty in the face of this open display of Divine power, then one could not simply maintain the status quo and expect to remain unaffected by the forces that constantly threaten to pull one away from holiness. He concluded that only by actually joining the Jewish people could be possibly hope to remain strong against the impurity of Amaleik.

First Names

The name of his first son was Gershom. “For I was a ger (stranger) in a foreign land.” The name of his second son was Eliezer because “Elokei avi (my father’s G-d) was ezri (my helper), rescuing me from Paroh’s sword” (Shemos 18:3-4).
The difficulty in understanding these two verses is self-apparent. The fact that Moshe Rabbeinu was a stranger in Midyan seems to pale in the face of the miracle that saved from death at the hands of Paroh. Why was his ger status important enough to merit being the source of the name of his first son?
Miracles are a temporary display of Divine glory, but after they have passed, things can easily go back to business as usual. Even greater than witnessing a miracle is channeling the inspiration that one gains thereby into elevating one’s daily relationship with the Almighty. Holding oneself strong and not letting the opposing forces around him ‘drag him in’ is a constant miracle in itself.
While Moshe Rabbeinu owed his physical existence to the miracle that the Almighty had performed for him in Mitzrayim, his spiritual well-being was a result of the Almighty’s continual spiritual protection. For this reason, Moshe Rabbeinu named his first son Gershom. IN doing so, he recognized Hashem’s Hand in helping him retain his identity while living among the idolatrous population of MIdyan.
World history has given us many examples of this phenomenon. While Germany hosted a thriving Torah community before the emancipation, after the walls of the ghetto were torn down, the influence of the non-Jewish world penetrated, and Jews left the fold en masse. Similarly, when exposed to the freedom of America, many Jews were influenced to drop their commitment to Torah.
Amaleik’s power grows stronger daily. If we do not take special precautions to guard ourselves from their weapons, we too may be pulled in by their sway. Even a temporary lapse of guard could cause one’s downfall.

Preparing for Moshiach

“Moshe went out to greet his father-in-law…” (Shemos 18:7)
Moshe Rabbeinu went out personally to welcome his father-in-law, Yisro. Considering his status as the leader of Klal Yisrael, his actions were a display of great honor for his father-in-law. What prompted Moshe to do this?
As explained earlier, Yisro was inspired to join the Jewish people as a result of the miracles that Hashem performed for Klal Yisrael. However, this was not an expression of momentary religious excitement. Yisro made a well-thought-out decision based on the realization that this was the proper course for him to take in his life.
Moshe Rabbeinu, recognized the sincerity of Yisro’s motivations. He wanted to show all of the Jewish people that his father-in-law’s choice, and not a temporary emotional frenzy. IN order to do this, he personally went out to greet him, showing that his father-in-law had chosen to truly become a dedicated, sincere member of Klal Yisrael.
The miracles that will take place preceding and during the times of Moshiach will be much greater than those that we experienced in MItzrayim. Like Yisro, all of the Jews and non-Jews of the world will recognize the Almighty’s truth and that Klal Yisrael is His chosen nation. These miracles will be such a powerful display of Divine glory that we will lose our own free choice and intentional transgression will become an impossibility.
Unlike the times of Yisro, it will then no longer be possible to join the Jewish people, The recognition will be so clear that there will be no choice but to accept it, and under such circumstances, there will be no merit in siding with the truth. Converts and baalei teshuvah will no longer be accepted.
The Satmar Rav, Rav Yoel Teitlebaum zt”l, once told Rav Sternbuch that considering the state of impurity that the world is in today, the reward for every mitzvah we perform is exponentially greater than in other generations, This being so, a true servant of Hashem should not want Moshiach to come. With his arrival, all nisyonos (trials) will fall away, and it would seem to follow that the reward for the mitzvos we perform, if any, will be negligible.
However, added the Satmar Rov, those who recognize the truth before the arrival of Moshiach will not lose out. Each person will continue his growth based on the level he achieved beforehand. Our avodah during these days prior to his coming is to ready ourselves for this immense revelation.
In our days, we have seen some of the rays of light that precede Moshiach. During the war in Gaza, thousands of missiles fell on Israel – but they caused almost no injury. In recent times, an earthquake struck the world, killing 300,000 people. These are small glimpses of the great power of Hashem, which He will reveal openly on the day of the final redemption.
Now is the time to prepare for this auspicious moment, as it is approaching rapidly.


Anonymous said...

What happens to a Jew still living in the diaspora? Why is it that they are not moving into the land that was given?

Anonymous said...

Battling Amaleik is like our own Yetzar Hara.