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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.
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Advantage of accepting VeAhavta before Davening

As noted before, the Ari Zal requires us to accept the commandment of loving our fellow before we daven. We can explore a more practical, more personal advantage to the concept of being connected with Klal Yisrael by doing some act of kindness before davening: we need this connection to those around us in order to daven well. This can be shown to be true for a number of different reasons.

First, we will not daven well if we do not also consider how other people will feel about our davening. It's wrong for us to just daven as if we are all alone and don't care about others.

We learn about this from Rashi's explanation of Moshe Rabbeinu's davening when his sister Miriam had tzora'as (Bamidbar 12:13). He provides two explanations for why Moshe Rabbeinu made so brief a prayer at that time:

1. So that the Bnei Yisrael would not consider him to be so insensitive to
the needs of his sister that he spent all his time in prayer instead of attending
to her.

2. So that the Bnei Yisrael should not think the opposite, and criticize him for
spending more time davening for his one sister than he did praying for all of

Likewise, we must always consider how our prayer will make others feel.

The other deeper reason for us to feel connected to Klal Yisrael in davening is because of what it will do to our feelings of our own selves: It will raise us up.

If we think of our position in Klal Yisrael, we will have more self-esteem. As the Nefesh HaChaim says, "No one would have an issue with having proper kevana if he were fully aware of the power inherent in his prayer. Not would he be lax in his actions were he to be aware of their consequences, as it says in Pirkei Avos (1:4), "Know what is above you..."

Feeling connected to Klal Yisrael, which is what happens when we do acts of kindness before davening, will bring upon us exactly this awareness of how great Klal Yisrael is, and that will build up our own self-esteem and build our awareness of this power inherent in our prayer. all this comes from doing acts of kindness before davening.