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About Me

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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Followers

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, June 25, 2010

Reconciling Opposites: Parah Adumah Helps Us Understand the Current Situation in Eretz Yisrael

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch


Utilizing Arrogance

Parah adumah is the chok of the Torah, for it simultaneously purifies the impure and makes the pure impure. While even Shlomo Hamelech could not fathom the full depths of this seemingly contradictory functioning, this mitzvah alludes to very deep concepts that even we can appreciate.
In the application of the parah adumah we find more opposites. The parah (cow) was first burned and mixed with water, and then applied with the branches of a cedar tree (erez), hyssop (ezov) and scarlet (tolas). The cedar tree is the tallest of all plants and hints tot the attribute of gaavah, haughtiness, while hyssop and scarlet are from the smallest of shrubs and are reminiscent of anava, humility.
Arrogance is extremely harmful, and is generally considered to be one of the worst middos. However, in certain situations, there is a place for it, and it can be harnessed for the good. If used properly, it can help elevate a person to the highest levels.
When a person starts learning Torah, there is a massive amount of knowledge in front of him, but he knows almost nothing. Looking objectively at his own talents versus the challenges that lie ahead of him could cause him to drop the whole endeavor and give up. At this point a person is allowed to feel a certain amount of haughtiness, for this can act as an impetus to push him to be a gadol baTorah (a great Torah sage)
Once a person has acquired a certain amount of Torah knowledge and recognizes what it means to be a talmid chochom, he should try to reverse his feelings. At this point, he should work on humility and recognize how minuscule he is vis-à-vis his Creator and the rest of the Torah that lies in front of him. This attitude will give him ore siyata diShemaya (heavenly help) and help him achieve much higher levels of Torah understanding.
Using the above concepts, the Baal Shem Tov explained what is hinted to in the seemingly contradictory nature of parah adumah. Arrogance has the power to purify the impure at the beginning of their endeavor to become a talmid chochom. Overestimating one’s abilities will save a person from the feeling of despair that he will never achieve anything.
However, once a person has reached a level of understanding regarding what Torah is really meant to be – once he has attained some purity – then haughtiness becomes a dangerous attribute. At this point, the very same attribute that he initially used to elevate himself in his Torah learning – to purify the impure – can now cause him to become impure and to plummet to the lowest depths. He should try to swing to the opposite extreme and work on humility.

Danger or Protection

We can understand the seemingly contradictory nature of the parah adumah in another light. Chazal reveal that Torah can be a sam hachaim, an elixir of life, or a sam hamovess, a deadly poison. When a person recognizes that Torah is the word of Hashem, and he uses his learning to bring himself closer to his Creator, then Torah has life-giving qualities. Even someone who is currently considered impure, as a result of transgressions, can be elevated to the highest level.
However, if a person learns Torah as would any other wisdom, Torah becomes extremely dangerous. A person can use his knowledge to embarrass others and transgress in various ways. Even a tzaddik can become impure as a result of learning Torah with corrupt intentions.
Based on this, we can understand another difficult parsha of the Torah. Chazal tell us that when Ysiro offered Moshe Rabbeinu the chance to marry his daughter Tziporah, he made a stipulation that their first child should become a priest to idol worship. After Yisro gave up a life of idolatry, how could he request that his grandchildren follow the same path that he abandoned?
Yisro recognized the danger of learning Torah for the wrong reasons. He felt that one should first try and grasp the futility of all other paths. Once a person comes to the understanding that all other ways are wrong and that Torah is the way to properly live one’s life, then he could embark on learning Torah with the correct attitude without running the risk of it being a sam hamovess.
Although Ysaro was correct in his perception of learning Torah for the right reasons, his methodology was mistaken. First, a person must internalize “ain k’Elokeinu” – that there is no other power in the world aside from the Almighty – and only then can he grasp “mi k’Elokeinu,” the deeper understanding of his existence. A person who starts off his search for truth by trying to negate all of the mistaken ideologies that exist in the world might be drawn after them in the process and wind up actually more distanced from Torah.

Difficult Questions

People who follow Yisro’s ideology and have not completely internalized “ein k’Elokeinu” might ask, “Where was the Almighty during he Holocaust? How could He stand by silently during the slaughter of millions of Jews, including women, children and cripples?” These and other similar questions plague them and do not allow them to achieve complete emunah.
“His (the Almighty’s) thoughts are not ours,” His thoughts are not on the same plane as ours, and we cannot hope to fathom the depth of His intentions. We must realize that just as we cannot comprehend the parah adumah, we cannot achieve a complete understanding of Hashem’s ways in this world.
The Chofetz Chaim compares this to an out-of-town guest who comes to shul for Shabbos. He sees aliyos being handed out, and at first glance, he thinks it is random and concludes that there is no reasoning behind this allotment. Why is a simple person receiving an aliyah, while an esteemed rov is not honrored?
The Chofetz Chaim explains that the confused guest does not realize the broader spectrum of what is going on in that shul. Next week, the rov is making a bar mitzvah for his son and will receive an aliyah then. The simple person has not been called up to the Torah in the past six months and is therefore getting an aliyah this Shabbos.
So, too, explains the Chofetz Chaim, we are not in touch with the full gamut of what is taking place in this world. We see life through our narrow perspective, but in truth, the picture is much broader. Only by accustoming ourselves to recognize the limitation of our vision can we hope to come to terms with life as we see it.

Eretz Yisrael

In our days, we must also reconcile opposites and deal with difficult questions of emunah. Jews come to Eretz Yisrael to seek out a life of kdedusha vetaharah (holiness and purity), and to try to give their children the best possible chinuch (education) of how a Jew should live his life. They are willing to live simply in order to be able to serve Hashem in His home.
In the midst of this mesirus nefesh, they find that they are thwarted by the secular government in achieving their goals. Last week, forty-three parents from Moshav Emamanuel were thrown in jail because they desired a higher level of chinuch for their children. The secular court system justified this verdict, claiming that halacha and the words of gedolei Torah must bow in the face of their ruling.
In another incident, Rav Sternbuch was violently attacked by police officers who shot gas directly in the rov’s face. The rov could not see for ten minutes and needed medical attention even afterward, but, bechasdei Hashem (with G-d’s Mercy), no lasting damage was caused. How can we understand why in Eretz Yisrael, in the palace of the King, such atrocities take place?
Rav Mordechai Pogromansky said that right before the coming of Moshiach, the final nisyonos (trials) will be regarding Eretz Yisrael. The Almighty will test whether the Jews living there are completely given over to His will. Those who successfully overcome these challenges and are faithful to Him will merit redemption.
Hashem’s eyes are not on those misguided individuals who are imposing these restrictions. Rather, His eyes are focused on how we will strengthen ourselves under this persecution and use these incidents to solidify our emunah. May we see the implementation of the true Torah leadership in Eretz Yisrael quickly.

Duplicity: Korach as the Prototype of Machlokes Shelo L’Sheim Shomayim

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch


Portraying Good Intentions

The Mishnah in Pirkey Avos lists the dispute of Korach and Moshe Rabbeinu as the classic example of a machlokes that is not l’sheim Shomayim. At first glance, nothing could seem farther from the truth. Korach came with eloquent claims that every member of the Jewish people is holy, and outwardly appeared extremely l’sheim Shomayim.
Herein lies the deeper meaning of the Mishna. Although Korach was motivated by a desire for honor, he portrayed sincere and pure intentions. Because Korach looked like he was acting l’sheim Shomayim, his argument was more convincing than those of most resha’im, and this made him far more dangerous than others.
Korach argued that the entire congregation is holy and Hashem is betocham, amongst them. “Betocham” implied that every Jew’s heart was imbued with the Divine spirit and this elevated every Jew to the highest level. In light of the great kedushah that every Jew had, they did not need Moshe Rabbeinu to be the leader of Klal Yisrael. In more recent history, we find that the renowned Zionist Theodore Herzl used similar tactics. Herzl was a masterful speaker, and although his true agenda was to abolish any trace of Torah from the Jewish people, in his speeches would stress the need to return to Eretz Yisrael. By latching on to such a holy concept as returning to Israel, Herzl made himself appear as if he were truly interested solely in the welfare and the strengthening of the Jewish community.
Many prominent rabbonim were taken in by Herzl’s persuasive speeches and felt that, under his leadership, salvation was possible. Rav Chaim Brisker, however, stood up against him and revealed that his great sincerity was actually the greatest danger that the Jewish people of that time faced. People would flock after his idealism only to find themselves pulled away from the Torah.
After the formation of the state of Israel, Herzl’s true ideologies were revealed. It was clear that the primary motivating factor behind setting up the state was to eliminate torah Judaism from Klal Yisrael. The Brisker Rov commented, “It took people seventy years to understand what my father meant.

The Danger of Keeping Quiet

Althogh Korach died still holding on to his erroneous ideologies, his children repented right before their death sentence was Divinely administered. They were not held responsible for their father’s actions, and their teshuvah was accepted. Chazal tell us that until this day, they have a special corner in Gehennom where they sing, “Moshe Emes VeToraso Emes” (Moshe is true and the Torah is true).
Seemingly, the teshuvah that Korach’s children did right before they died should have been sufficient for them to merit Gan Eden. If they sincerely repented, why did they have to go to Gehennom? What is the deeper meaning of their singing shirah (song) in the midst of Gehennom?
In truth, Korach’s children recognized the false nature of their father’s arguments much earlier. They should have protested their father’s actions before he was swallowed up into the earth. Because they remained quiet and did not take action against their father’s insidious deeds, they could not be included in the reward of the rest of the Jewish people in Gan Eden.
Right before they were swallowed into the earth, Korach’s children were able to act on their recognition of their father’s ways. Since they did teshuvah right before they died, they were not included in the harsh punishment of Korach and the rest of their followers. Instead, they received a middle ground, existing in Gehennom but singing the praises of the Torah.

Just Like Amaleik

How far-reaching was Korach’s evil nature? The Ba’al HaTurim reveals Korach’s ideology was similar to that of Amaleik. The initial comparison seems difficult to comprehend, as the Torah considers Amaleik evil incarnate.
Amaleik’s evil was not limited to their transgressions, but was inherent in their very nature. They all saw the miracles that Hashem performed, and yet they still planned a rebellion against the Almighty. Their readiness to battle G-d after seeing His strength displayed their extreme chutzpah, sheer brazenness, in the face of witnessing truth.
Korach took part and witnessed all of the miracles that Hashem did for the Jewish people when leaving Mitzrayim. This did not deter him from going ahead with his rebellion against Moshe Rabbeinu, who was personally appointed by the Almighty to lead the Jewish people. Korach’s actions also showed great chutzpah, and therefore his actions can legitimately be compared to those of Amaleik.

Inner Beauty

After the incident of Korach, we find that, once again, the leadership of the Jewish people was challenged when part of Klal Yisrael complained and instigated the argument of whether Aharon was really worthy to direct the Jewish people. Aharon was a complete tzaddik who went quietly in the ways of Hashem and did not have the flamboyance of Korach.
Hashem commanded to take the staffs of each of the roshei shevatim (head of the tribes) including that of Aharon to represent Levi and to write each leader’s name on his staff. Then, the staff of the individuals who was fitting to lead the Jewish people would sprout flowers. What was it about this act that proved Aharon was in fact, worthy to guide Klal Ysirael?
While Aharon might not have shared Korach’s charisma – a quality that many people deem essential to good leadership – he was a complete tzaddik, which is, objectively, far more important. The proof of his righteousness was in his actions, which were the external manifestation of his exalted level. Hashem showed and attested to Aharon’s inner beauty when He caused his staff to sprout elegant flowers.
Hashem demonstrated that even though Aharon was quiet in his ways this did not inhibit what he was able to accomplish. The fruit and flowers that sprouted from his staff showed just the opposite – the quiet tzaddik who does not expend himself on boisterous statements and behavior can save his energy for mitzvos.
The Vilna Gaon writes that in the final generations before Moshiach, the leaders of the Jewish people will be from the eirev rav (mixed multitudes). In today’s world, where sheker (lies) are rampant, we must be ever so careful of Jewish leaders who act flamboyantly, but whose actins are motivated by wrong intentions. Hashem should protect us from such charlatans, and help us to recognize who the true gedolim of the Jewish people are.
Thursday, June 17, 2010

Preparing for Moshiach: Learning from the Mistakes of the Meraglima and Telafchad

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch

Living Miraculously

“Send for yourself men of stature to spy the land” (Bamidbar 13:2)
Ten makkos, monn and Krias Yam Suf were among the numerous miracles that Hshem performed for the Jewish people during Yetzias Mitzrayim. After seeing Hashem’s Hand perform so many wonders, there was seemingly no place to have any doubt about His ability to take them into Eretz Yisrael. Why was there a need to send spies in beforehand?
The meraglim knew that Hashem is all powerful and had no difficulty miraculously taking the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael. However, they also realized that He generally acts according to nature. Spies were sent ahead beforehand to check if the land could be conquered naturally without turning to miracles.
When the meraglim realized that Eretz Yisrael could not be conquered naturally, they felt that it was improper to go ahead with the conquest. Relying on a change of nature would mean that the Jewish people would have to elevate themselves to be worthy of these miracles, and they did not want to feel that Klal Yisrael could rise tot he occasion. The Sanhedrin met to decide on this issue, and they agreed with the meraglim not to enter Eretz Yisrael.
Wherein lies the mistake of the meraglim and the Sanhedrin?
In truth, living in Eretz Yisrael, in the palace of the King, while witnessing all of the miracles that would be needed to conquer the land, would obligate Klal Yisrael to elevate themselves. The Mergaglim were correct in their concert that this would not be a simple task. However, since Hashem commanded us to go into Eretz Yisrael miraculously, there was no room to make calculations that contradicted this, and the meraglim should have put all their worries aside and listened without hesitation.

Living in Israel

Rav Sternbuch recounts that when he first traveled to Eretz Yisrael, he traveled via France, and he met up there with Rav Mordechai Pogramansky. Rav Mordechai asked Rav Sternbuch if he was prepared for his trip, and Rav Sternbuch replied that his suitcases were packed and he was ready to go.
Rav Mordechai responded that his question was not whether he was physically ready. He was referring to the fact that living in Eretz Yisrael requires great preparation beforehand, and one cannot simply hope to have success. For example, while lashon hara is always a serious transgression, in the palace of the King it is much worse.
It was for this reason that Hashem responded so strongly to the transgression of the meraglim and did not let them, nor the rest of the generation, enter Eretz Yisrael. To live in Eretz Yisrael requires constant recognition that Hashem is the only Ruling Power in the universe. “Hashem is one,” which we repeat every day in Shema Yisrael, must be engraved on the heart and mind of everyone living in Eretz Yisrael.
In contrast to this clear recognition of Divine power, Amaleik denies. Hashem’s all-encompassing rule of the world, and does not believe in miracles. Therefore, Hashem commanded us to fight and destroy Amaleik in every generation. We are obligated to completely annihilate their presence from the world.
Although the meraglim and their entire generation perished in the desert, the underlying philosophy behind their transgression and that of Amaleik lives on. Now, during the time fight before the coming of Moshiach, the power of this ideology continues to grow stronger and stronger. On the day of the final revelation of Hashem’s complete control of the world, this evil power will disappear, and it will be clear that there is only One controlling force in the world.

Well-Rooted

“are there trees or not?” (Bamidbar 13:20)
Rashi explains that the Torah is speaking metaphorically. Trees refer to people with great merit, not simply to plants in the ground. The people knew that the presence of such individuals in Eretz Yisrael would make capturing the land much more difficult.
What is the deeper meaning of this analogy? Trees are well rooted in the ground and even the strongest gusts can generally not move them. So too, a man of truth is firmly planted, and the gust of crooked ideologies that blow in the world do not change his way of thinking.
As we approach the time of Moshiach’s arrival, this attribute becomes increasingly more crucial. The winds of falsehood that exist today have reached hurricane proportions and only someone with very clear hashkofas haTorah (Torah philosophy) can stand strong in the midst of such gales. We must provide ourselves and our families with the proper Jewish chinuch to ensure that we can maintain our Jewish identities.
Another attribute of a tree is that it produces fruit. Similarly, a tzaddik is rewarded in this world and the next for the results of his action as well as the deed itself. The smallest act can produce countless fruit over the span of generations.
Every year, on a person’s yahrtzeit, the niftar (deceased) is judged for his actions that year. If he already passed on to the next world, what is the point of analyzing his deeds again and again, year after year? While he can no longer do more mitzvos, what he did in his lifetime continues to bear fruit, and it is on this that he is judged.
This is the meaning of what we say each day in tefillah, “Eternal life He planted within us.” A Jew who fills his life with Torah and mitzvos is well rooted in the next world even during his lifetime. We must try to do whatever is in our ability during our lives and in that way, we will reap great benefits in the World to Come.

Good Intentions

At the end of the parsha, Tzelafchad was mechalel shabbos. In doing so, he was the first person punished with death for transgressing. After seeing so many miracles, how could he act against the Torah?
The Medrash Tanchumah says that Tzelafchad acted lesheim Shomayim (for the sake of heaven). After the entire generation that transgressed was punished, they lost their drive to keep the Torah. They felt that if they wouldn’t have a portion in the World to Come, why should they do mitzvos?
In order to refute this way of think, he was mechallel Shabbos. When he received the death penalty for his actions, it was clear to all observers that they must continue to keep the Torah as before. However, with all of Tzelachad’s good intentions, he was mistaken in his thoughts.
In rare instances, we find the concept of an aveirah lishmah, a sin done with good intentions. These instances are few and far between, and can only be considered after consulting with gedolei Torah. Tzelfachad acted on his own accord, and although he meant well, his transgression was not an aveirah lishmah.
Some people transgress lesheim Shomayim with numerous good reasons to back up their actions. We must learn from the meraglim and Tzelafchad that even the most elevated intentions are not sufficient reason to sin. Especially during the time before Moshiach when the tests we face are extremely subtle, the need to follow the exact guidelines of the Torah is even more crucial than ever.

Change - No You Can't

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch

The Dangers of Deviation

“And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, ‘Speak to Aharon, and say to him, “When you light the menorah...’ And Aharon did so...” (Bamidbar 8:1-2)
In the parsha of Beha’loscha, Hashem commands Aharon regarding the mitzvah of lighting the menorah. The Torah writes that “Aharon did so” to confirm that he did what he was told. Rashi explains that it was to Aharon’s great praise that he did not change any of the instructions regarding how to make the menorah.
Rashi’s words are difficult to understand. Obviously, someone who has heard a direct command from the almighty will do exactly as he was told. Why was it such great praise to Aharon that he didn’t change anything in this actualization of what he’d been told?
There was no question that Aharon would follow Hashem’s commands to a tee. However, Aharon could have simultaneously added his own creative nuances to the mitzvah. Because of his complete reliance on Hashem and unwillingness to deviate an iota, Aharon was lauded.
Shlomo Hamelech tells us in Mishlei, “Ner mitzvah veTorah ohr, “the light of the menorah represents Torah and mitzvos of lighting the menorah is a lesson for all generations in how meticulous we must be regarding Torah and mitzvos. Any change could be the start of the downfall that can plunge us into complete disaster.
One good example is chinuch. Modern-day psychologists claim that a child does not have to listen to everything his parents say, that boys and girls should be educated together, and that women should dress in whatever manner they see fit, even if it contradicts tznius (modesty), among many other innovations contradictory to the Torah. We must learn from Moshe and Aharon that when it comes to Hashem’s commandments, there is no room for “innovations.”

Personality Constants

We can understand the praise of Aharon in another light as well. Originally, Aharon felt dejected that the nesi’im were all give special tasks while the seemingly had nothing. The Almighty quickly comforted him telling him that he would be assigned a much greater job, the lighting of the menorah.
Even after Aharon found out about his exalted position, his personality did not change. He still retained his humility, despite the great honor he received. This is another aspect of what Chazal meant in saying that he did not change.
Gedolei Yisrael receive great honor, yet they maintain their humility. Despite all of the kavod they receive, they think that they are not worthy of it. If someone tries to honor them, they flee from it.
Rav Akiva Eiger was once traveling to a certain town, and when he arrived, thousands of people came out to greet him. He had absolutely no idea why they were there. When they started walking after him, he traveled with them, thinking that it must be a levaya (a burial).
Eventually, after they had walked for a while, Rav Akiva Eiger asked who passed away. When the people responded that they were following the rav, he was shocked from disbelief and could not believe that this was the reason for the great crowd.
Even when they ascend to greatness, gedolei Yisrael maintain their humility and do not change their personalities at all.
Some people might appear to shirk all honor, but, in truth, this is not an expression of humility. They feel that they are so great that no one can possibly honor them properly. This type of person is like Bilaam, who said that even a house full of gold would not be sufficient to compensate him.
Moshe Rabbeinu, on the other hand, told Hashem, “Anybody else is more worthy to save the Jewish people than I.” Although he recognized his greatness, Moshe felt that since he was given his elevated status as a gift, he did not deserve any recognition. This is the outlook of all gedolei Ysirael, who do not consider themselves worthy of any honor.

In a Class by Themselves

After Klal Yisrael transgressed with the Eigel (sin of the Golden Calf), Hashem appointed the Leviim to do the avodah in place of bechoros, for they had sinned. One would think that hte Leviim would receive great honor during their inauguration, and that this would be a ceremony accompanied by great pomp and fanfare. After all, they were assuming a role of great importance amongst the Jewish people.
Instead, the Torah seems to go to the opposite extreme: Hashem commanded the Leviim to be shaved from head to toe. Seemingly, there could be no greater embarrassment for a person. Why did Hashem choose to start their careers as Leviim in such a dishonorable fashion?
We find another source in the Torah for such humiliating treatment: The metzorah, who was punished for his constant slander, was also shaved in their entirety and sent out of mechaneh Yisrael (the camp of Israel). These acts of social disgrace were meant to drive home the severity of the metzorah’s transgression, shooing how he had distanced himself from his fellow Jews, and thus teach him to guard his tongue from lashon hara.
Leviim were tzaddikim and did not require this treatment as a punishment, but there was a crucial concept that Hashem wished to teach tem. Shaving them from head to toe would imbue them with this concept. What is it that the Almighty wanted them to learn from that?
Shevet Levi was separated from the rest of the Jewish people to be the special servants of Hashem. In order to fulfill this role, the Almighty commanded the rest of Klal Yisrael to take care of the financial needs of all the Leviim through terumah, maaser, reishis hagez, and all of the other gifts they received. The nature of this relationship could easily cause others to look at the Leviim as shnorers (beggars), and even lead others to disgrace them.
Preparation always helps a person deal with nisyonos (trials) that Hashem sends him. In order to get the Leviim ready for the potential disgrace that they might encounter, Hashem commanded that their bodies should be shaved in their entirety. Inevitably, they would feel separation from other Jews, and this would ready them for future incidents.
Bnei Torah who wish to spend a number of years of their lives devoted to learning Torah might find themselves in a similar situation. Often, the only way that they can manage financially is to accept hlep from others. This could easily bring them to a feeling of slight and dishonor.
Hashem taught the Leviim that the disgrace they might encounter was worthwhile in order to maintain their exalted role. So too, Bnei Torah who devote their time to limud haTorah (learning Torah) should recognize that any embarrassment they might encounter is well worth it for the reward that lies in store for them in this world and the next. This is a crucial thought for lomdei Torah and tomchei Torah (ones who donate money to help people sit and learn Torah) alike.