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.
View my complete profile


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.
Saturday, July 17, 2010

Deep Secrets: The Hidden Meaning of Klal Yisroel's Journey's Throught he Desert

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch

More than Meets the Eye

“These are the journeys of the Jewish people...” (Bamidbar 33:1)
At first glance, Parshas Masei appears to be on e of the most uneventful parshiyos of the whole Torah. Why does the Torah have to tell us about all of the journeys that the Jewish people made during their time in the midbar (desert)? Furthermore, what is the point of giving names to all of the places where they rested?
The Raavad (Ediyos 2:9) explains that when Moshiach comes, the Jewish people will not be taken straight into Eretz Yisrael. As the novi Yechezkel writes, “I will take them through the desert of the nations.” Rashi on that posuk says that this refers to Klal Yisroel’s travels through the desert when they left Mitzrayim. What is the deeper connection between these journeys and the time of Moshiach?
From Rashi we see that all of the difficulties that the Jewish people endured during their travels in the desert left a lasting effect on the world, which will only be fully recognized when Moshiach comes. As a result of all of our traveling in the desert, Klal Yisroel gained the ability to survive the long journey through the golus, which is comparable to a midbar. These journeys gave us the tools that we need to be successful in all of the difficult nisyonos (tests) that we face during these trying times.
All of the tribulations that we encounter today are, in fact, hinted to in the 42 journeys that the Jewish people made whilst in the desert. These 42 maasa’os also parallel the 42 letters of one of Hashem’s names. Is there a connection between these two remazim (hints)?
Everything that takes place in the world is Divinely orchestrated. This is what is hinted to by the number of journeys, which is equal to the numerical value of a Divine name. When Moshiach comes, the gates of wisdom will be opened up and we will merit to understand how every single tribulation that Klal Yisroel endured during our time in golus was with great Divine precision, and each one stemmed directly from Hashem.

Taking a Break

Parshas Masei lists each of the journeys of the Jewish people during their forty-year sojourn in the desert. Why, then, does the Torah also list the places where they rested? Seemingly, this has nothing to do with their travels...
During these forty years, the Jews were on their way to Eretz Yisroel. Since they were traveling for the sake of a mitzvah, the Torah considers them to be actively journeying even while they were taking a break. Resting in order to have the strength to complete a mitzvah is also called doing a mitzvah.
Internalizing the message of this parsha will help us view life differently. All of one’s time in this world is a journey to the next. In this light, everything that one does while here is preparation for his true dwelling in Olam Haba.
This is what Chazal meant when they said that talmidei chachomim do not have rest in this world. Every moment of their lives is channeled to reaching higher and higher levels of spiritual perfection. They are constantly on the move to their true destination in the World to Come.
A wealthy Jew once visited the Chofetz Chaim and was shocked to see the austere quarters that he resided in. When he asked the Chofetz Chaim where all of his furniture is, the Chofetz Chaim surprised him by posing the same question to him. When his visitor replied that he was traveling and could not take all his furniture with him, the Chofetz Chaim explained that he was also just passing through this world and did not want to load himself up either, as that might make his journey more difficult.

Talmidei Chachomim

“The desert will rejoice...” (Yeshayahu 35) What is the reason for this simcha? The Medrash on Parsha Masei explains that in the future, Midbar Sinai will be rewarded for hosting all of the Jewish people during their time in the desert.
The Medrash then takes this idea one step further: If the desert was rewarded so grandly for its involvement with the Jewish people, then a person who hosts a talmid chochom in his home will receive even greater compensation. We cannot even fathom the reward for this.
Why is hosting a talmid chochom such a great act? Having a great Torah scholar in one’s home elevates his entire residence. Hashem views it differently because of the talmid chochom who is residing there.
The places in the midbar where Klal Yisroel stayed were written in the Torah and thus publicized and recorded for all of eternity. So, too, someone who hosts a talmid chochom in his home turns it into an achsanya shel Torah, an encampment of Torah where the Shechinah swells. His residence gains universal acclaim and he will merit to see the fruits of his actions for all of eternity.