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.
Friday, March 9, 2012

Kabbalos HaTorah on Purim

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch


Har Sinai was accompanied by kollos uverokim, miraculous thunder and lightning.
The heavens opened up and we were privileged to see the greatest revelation of Hashem’s Yet, despite the obvious benefit of such an open display of Divine glory to elevate our faith in the Almighty, there is also a disadvantage.

Chazal tell us, “Modah rabba le’oraisa. We seemingly have an excuse to free ourselves
from our acceptance of Torah.” Klal Yisroel can say that we only accepted the Torah because we were privileged to these open displays of glory. There were no kabbolas
haTorah for future generations when the Almighty’s Presence would be hidden by the
guise of teva, nature.

Purim is characterized by nissim nistarim, hidden miracles. Hashem’s Name is deliberately not mentioned once in the entire story, for He wished to show us His interaction in the world through the vise of hester ponim. As a result, the Megillah tells us, “Kimu vekiblu haYehudim.” After the hidden miracles of Purim, we reaccepted the Torah even during a time when the Almighty’s Presence was hidden from us.


The Vilna Gaon adds another dimension to the simcha of Purim. He explains that on Yom
Kippur, when we received the second set of Luchos, we should have celebrated with great joy. However, since Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and repentance, that was not possible. How did Hashem make this up? He gave us a second opportunity for Kabbolas HaTorah on Purim. On Purim, we can express our great joy that we were given the Torah.

Chazal tell us, “Chayov inish levesumei bePuria ad delo yoda bein arur Haman
uboruch Mordechai - A person has to celebrate on Purim until he can no longer recognize the difference between the fact that Haman is cursed and Mordechai is blessed.” On a simple level, Chazal meant to express a very high level of joy.

However, we can understand this halachah on a deeper level as well. The Zohar writes
that the festival of Yom Kippurim is Yom K’Purim, a day like Purim. In fact, it is the mitzvah of drinking on Purim that makes it like Yom Kippur.

When a person gets drunk, his real essence comes out. This true display of self is the same level of truthfulness that we are meant to reach on Yom Kippur, when we admit our sins in front of Hashem and accept that we will not commit them again. Once we have reached this level of clarity on Purim, we can understand the level of truth we are meant to achieve on Yom Kippur.


Drinking wine is one of the mitzvos of Purim Matanos la’evyonim and mishloach manos
play important roles in creating the nature of the day. How do these mitzvos contribute to the Kabbolas HaTorah of Purim?

When we received the Torah, the Jewish people were in a state of complete unity,
ke’ish echad beleiv echad, like one person with one heart. In order to accept the Torah again, we need to return to that state. The mitzvos of matanos la’evyonim and mishloach manos help create this state of perfect unity on Purim day.


Amaleik’s basic assumption is the opposite of what we have described. Only teva,
nature, has true existence. Anything that does not fit into this framework is discounted. The Rambam (Sefer Hamitzvos 188) writes that the mitzvah of destroying Amaleik is to eradicate their descendants from the world.

The Targum Yonason (at the end of Parshas Beshalach) tells us that during Acharis
Hayomim, at the End of Days, the strength of Amaleik will approach world domination.
Their power will grow almost overwhelmingly, until, suddenly, Moshiach arrives and they will disappear entirely. This is comparable to a flame, which blazes brighter with a final spark just before it is extinguished.

Today, we are witnessing the fulfillment of this vision of Acharis Hayomim. The flame of Amaleik blazes stronger daily, and it appears as if their ascendancy is all but unstoppable. Hashem’s Presence seems to be increasingly shrouded and hidden, and those who doubt His existence seem to be gaining greater influence.


Chazal tell us that all chagim will come to an end with the exception of Purim (Medrash Shachor Tov 9:2). We know that even after Moshiach comes, the commandments of the Torah will not change at all. How are we to understand this statement of Chazal? In truth, all of the festivals will remain intact as they are now. However, there will be a significant change vis-a-vis the way we celebrate Purim and the other chagim. This difference once again revolves around the nature of the festival of Purim.

Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos are all based on Yetzias Mitzrayim, the exodus from Egypt.
Miracles that will accompany the messianic era will dwarf the revelations of leaving
Egypt. Thus, while we will still celebrate these festivals, it ill not be with the same excitement as now.Purim, however, celebrates the nissim nistarim, the hidden miracles that Hashem has performed throughout the ages. When Moshiach comes, we will be shown why everything had to happen - the destruction of the first and second Botei Mikdosh, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and all of the other seeming tragedies that we have experienced throughout the ages. Understanding the good behind these outwardly tragic events will be a reason for great joy.

The Ramban at the end of Parshas Bo writes, “A person does not have a portion in
Toras Moshe until he recognizes that everything is miraculous, that there is no such thing as nature in the world.” These words of the Ramban set the tone for the Yom Tov of Purim. Purim is about looking for the Almighty when He does not seem to be there and recognizing that He alone is behind the scenes, setting the stage for the grand finale, the final revelation in the days of Moshiach.