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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.
Monday, May 2, 2011


Modeh Ani (I thank you G-d...)

At a recent medical convention a cardiologist warned abut the danger of jumping out of bed immediately upon awakening. according to his research, he reported the optimal amount of time to remain in bed before standing up is twelve seconds.

A religious doctor pointed out that there are exactly twelve words in the Modeh Ani prayer, saying oe word every second is the healthy way to get out of bed in the morning.

There is an interesting history to this prayer. Although it seems to us that this prayer has been a universally accepted custom for a long time, in fact the forst documented version of this prayer is only four hundred years old found in the Seder Hayom. The source for the prayer is a verse in Lamentations "chadashim labekarim..." which can be understood as saying "New ones in mornings, great is your emunah..."

It is fascinating to note that a significant number of the cells in our bodies reproduce and replace themselves every twenty-four hours. So when we wake up every morning and thank Hashem for restoring our souls to our bodies, we actually are new beings to a great degree.

Giving Tzedakah before Davening

The Ari Zal requires us to accept upon ourselves the mitzvah of "Ve'ahatah l'reacha camocha," "you shall love your neighbor as yourself", before davening. Perhpas this is the source of our custom to give Tzedakah before davening.

Explaining how kindness is one of the three pillars upon which the world stands, the Avos d'Rebbe Nosson brings a verse Hoshea (6:6), "I desired kindness, not sacrifice," and a verse in Tehillim (89:3) saying that the world was originally created with kindness.

The Beraisa goes on to elate how Rebbe Yohoshua one day accompanied Rebbe Yochanan ben Zakai out of Yerushalayim. When they beheld the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, Rebbe Yehoshua groaned and said, "Woe to us that it is destroyed, that place where the sins of Yisrael were atoned for.

Rebbe Yochanan ben Zakai comforted him, saying, "My son, do not be so despondent. There still remains for us a comparable method of atoning for the sins of Yisrael, kindness as it says, "I preferred kindness to sacrifice."

We find this also by Daniel Ish Chamudos, who was unable to offer sacrifices because he lived in Bavel (Babylonia). He simply performed kindness instead of the sacrifices. And what was the kindness that he did? He would make a bride happy by preparing her for her wedding. He would see the dead to their final resting place. He would give a coin to tzedakah. And he would daven three times a day and have his prayers accepted willingly in the Heavens.

The Binyan Yehosua, in his commentary on the Avos d'Rebbi Nosson, explains this connection between giving tzedakah before davening and having one's prayers accepted. He quotes a verse from Tehillim (17:15): "With charity I will see Your face".

This deed of giving tzedakah ensures that the Heavens will protect one's prayers from the interference of prosecuting angels, because the Heavens do have mercy on someone who had mercy on others.

In fact, the giving of tzedakah before davening is one explanation of the cryptic Gemara in Brachos (8a) that tells us we must wait the length of two door openings when entering shul before we daven. These two 'openings' are a hint to the verse about giving charity, "You shall surely open your hand to the poor!"