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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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.
Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Art of Protest: Sanctifying Hashem’s name During the Darkest Times

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch

Sanctification and Desecration

Recently, a great chillul Hashem took place when a Supreme Court judge in Israel sentenced the parents of 43 Bais Yaakov girls to jail, because they wished to give their children a higher level of religious observance.
These parents countered what took place with a kiddush Hashem and did not stand by silently. Rather, they said Shema Yisrael, and accepted upon themselves to fight this decision at all costs. They stood by the p’sak of gedolei Torah, and were willing to go to jail rather than to give in to the coercion of the court system.
Parshas Pinchos teaches us how we should react in such situations. When we see a chillul Hashem, we cannot be quiet. Instead, we must look for ways in which we can sanctify His Name, as these parents so courageously did. Let us try and understand some of the finer points of kiddush Hashem as they are shown in Parshas Pinchos.

Pacts of Peace

Parshas Balak ends with ma’aseh Zimri, the dreadful turnaround of one of the leaders of the Jewish people from being a great tzaddik to desecrating Hashem’s Name through public immorality. Targum Yonason writes that those who witnessed this spectacle recited Krias Shema. This was their way of showing that they had no part in what was taking place, and that their dedication to the Almighty remained strong.
While saying Krias Shema was certainly a praiseworthy response to what was taking place, it was not enough. Such an abhorrent and open desecration of Hashem’s honor requires one to take up arms and try to bring it to an end at all costs. Pinchos was moser nefesh to do just that, and was miraculously successful in stopping it.
When such abhorrent events take place, the Almighty’s anger becomes inflamed, and in order to quiet His fury, drastic measures must be taken. This is exactly what was done by Pinchos in his act of killing Zimri. Since in so doing, he made peace between Hashem and Klal Yisrael, he was rewarded with bris shalom, a covenant of peace.

Just Reward

Pinchos received great reward for his act. Rashi says that Pinchos received his reward bedin, with the attribute of justice. What is the deeper meaning of reward which is given bedin?
Reward for mitzvos is completely spiritual. According to the letter of the law, it is impossible to receive compensation in this world. Only when a person completes his life and moves on to the next world will he be able to get payment.
However, at times, a person acts far beyond the call of duty. In these instances, he is no longer bound to the exact terms of payment; Hashem rewards him for his actions in this world and the next.
When Pinchos killed Zimri to defend the honor of Hashem, he acted in just such a way. This is what Rashi means that he received his reward bedin. Because he went out of his way in this world to safeguard the Torah and the Almighty’s honor, he was justified to receive compensation in this world as well.

Defending the Faith

In today’s society, there are numerous opportunities to stand up for Hashem’s honor. Anyone who is able to protect himself from the dangers of the internet, the media, and all of the other destructive forces that are rampant in the modern world is also a Pinchos. He will be rewarded accordingly in this world and the next.
The parents of the Bais Yaakov girls of Emmanuel are examples of this type of mesirus nefesh to defend the honor of Torah in our own times. When faced with the decision to not listen to gedolei Torah and to harm the education of their daughters or to be incarcerated, they valiantly chose the latter. They are a lesson to all of us regarding how far a Jew must go when Divine honor is at stake.
Every Jew should try to follow Pinchos’ example and try to sanctify Hashem’s Name whenever the chance arises. We are living during the period right before the coming of Moshiach, when the darkness is very great. During this time, the opportunities for kiddush Hashem are vast and varied.