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.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When Should a Rabbi say they don't know?

Over the years, I have had the privilege to meet many world -class rabbinical authorities. I have heard pearls of wisdom from all of them and was truly impressed how they internalize the lessons of the Torah and make it part of their everyday life.

The most important lesson from all these experiences that I learned was to know when to say "I don't know" better than giving a bad answer. That to me showed the ultimate in humility and honesty. No one is expected to know everything but even more importantly, when we don't know or are not sure or we have to speak to someone greater than ourselves for advice, we shouldn't hesitate to do so.

This also leads to another important point. Even the greatest rabbinical authorities have to know if they are in disagreement with their contemporaries, they have to know when to 'bow' out and go according to the majority. That means when there is a difference of opinion on a certain matter and many other contemporaries disagree with their point, one must be humble and conform with the majority.

I have seen very often in rabbinic literature, that a Talmudic giant will give an opinion on a certain question but will say that even though they think their opinion is right and they have spent the entire responsa proving it, because no contemporary authorities agree with them, they will not 'die' for their opinion.

This means that even if they have all the proofs to back up their theory, they have to be in line with the rabbinical authorities of their time. The Talmud is clear that we have to go according to the majority. We have to know when to bend our will to others when we are in the minority.



Sean M. Teaford said...

This is a great point and we all need to remember that no matter how knowing one is on this earth, Hashem is the only one who knows all. There is much that each of us doesn't know and to assume otherwise is foolish. I look forward to learning more from your writings with ever post and more from Hashem every second of the day.

Rabbi Chaim Coffman said...

Thanks so much. It is not so much of how much of ourselves we put in the Torah but how much of the Torah we put into ourselves.