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, June 9, 2011

Ask the Raavad: Birkas HaTorah

Question: The minhag in our shul is to stay up Shavuos night and learn, and daven at neitz afterwards. In the morning, it is often diffi cult to fi nd someone to make Birkas HaTorah. How much does one have to sleep at night in order to recite Birkas HaTorah in the morning? Also, if I sleep 3 to 5 hours during the day after tefi llah, do I have to make Birkas HaTorah when I wake up?
Thank you.
A. Brochin

Answer: The custom is to find someone who slept Shavuos night to recite the brachos for everyone who did not sleep. It is preferable to fi nd someone who had a proper sleep Shavuos night. In regards to your second question, the custom is that people do not recite Birkas HaTorah after sleeping during the day. However, there are many opinions, including that of the Vilna Gaon, obligating one to recite Birkas HaTorah again after a significant daytime sleep. In the words of the Mishnah Berurah (47:28), someone will not lose out if he follows these opinions and makes Birkas HaTorah on Shavuos morning after his daytime sleep.


Other than eating cheesecake and other fine foods, Shavuos has no official mitzvos of the day. Much of Klal Yisroel has adopted the custom of the Bais Yosef to study Torah the entire night. While this is certainly praiseworthy for anyone who can do so, staying up all night creates a number of problems regarding Birkas HaTorah, the blessings recited on Torah learning.

According to some opinions, Birkas HaTorah is a birkas hamitzvah, blessings recited on the mitzvah of learning Torah. Like other brachos recited on mitzvos, if there is a significant interruption, one must recite the blessing again. On normal days, when we sleep the whole night, we recite Birkas HaTorah each morning on the mitzvah of Torah learning.

Others understand that Birkas HaTorah is a birkas hashevach, a blessing praising Hashem for giving us the Torah. Like other brachos of praise, it is recited once a day and is not said again even if there is a significant interruption. Every morning, after a new day has passed, we praise Hashem for giving us the Torah with Birkas HaTorah. Reciting Bikras HaTorah on Shavuos morning after learning the whole night depends on these two understanding. If Birkas HaTorah is a birkas hamitzvah, an interruption of sleep is needed and someone who stayed up cannot recite this blessing. However, if Birkas HaTorah is a birkas hashevach, then on Shavuos morning one can say Birkas HaTorah again.


The Shulchan Aruch (47:11) cites both of these opinions. Although the primary halachah is that sleep interrupts Birkas HaTorah, the Shulchan Aruch concludes that the custom is like the second understanding and that one does not repeat Birkas HaTorah if he slept during the day. This ruling has a number of important ramifications for Shavuos morning.

According to the first opinion that sleeping obligates one in a new bracha, if one did not sleep the whole night of Shavuos, he cannot recite Birkas HaTorah in the morning. The second opinion, which connects the obligation to recite Birkas HaTorah to the new day, would require Birkas HaTorah in the morning. In deference to the fi rst understanding, someone who stayed up Shavuos night does not recite Birkas HaTorah, and we try to find someone who slept Shavuos night to recite these brachos.

This brings us to the second problem that we face on Shavuos morning: Who will recite Birkas HaTorah for everyone in shul? Sometimes it is difficult to find someone who slept the whole night, and instead, someone who only slept a short time will recite Birkas HaTorah for everyone. He might have just put his head down on a shtender in the bais medrash or rested lying down for a short time with his clothes on.

Putting one’s head down on a shtender or a short nap with one’s clothes on does not constitute a significant interruption. Depending on the circumstances, this may not be sufficient to say Birkas HaTorah again. Rav Sternbuch rules that one should find someone who slept properly to recite Birkas HaTorah. Even after we have found someone who slept the whole night to recite Birkas HaTorah, we still have a third problem to deal with. Generally, after staying up the whole night, one will have to go to sleep after the tefillos. According to the opinions that sleep