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, September 4, 2012

How do we get the most out of Elul

It is just a few short weeks away, the ultimate judgment day, Rosh Hashanah. We have been hearing the shofar be blown every day for the last two weeks to "wake us up from our slumber" as the Rambam tells us. The question is are we ready for the day of judgement and are we getting the most out of the month of Elul?

We know that Rosh Hashanah comes before Yom Kippur, the day of the atonement, but the question is why? Isn't it better for us to have our spiritual state wiped clean before our future fate is determined?

Rosh Hashanah has to come first. Through the awesome spirit of strict judgment of that day, we are able to perceive that Hashem is truly the undisputed ruler of the entire universe. Only after we have achieved this level of recognition are we worthy of being purified on Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah is the Yom Tov (festival) of kingship, recognizing that everything that happens in our lives is in His hands alone. When we think about the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the odds that a person could receive a judgement involving much trial and suffering in the upcoming year are not remote. Yet we find that many people are relaxed before the day of judgment, assuming that if things went okay last year they will stay okay in the following year. This complacency comes from the fact that they do not grasp the full extent of the judgment. In addition, if we want the outcome of our judgment to be positive, we should first recognize that every aspect of our destiny is entirely in Hashem's hands.

Elul is a time of tremendous Divine favor and for this reason, the mazel of this month is a besulah (a virgin). Every bride looks forward to her married life as a fresh start, full of promise. We can live out the month of Elul with a similar sense of hope and anticipation.

The famed Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria) offers an allegorical explanation for the verse "and she cries for her father and mother for a month," referring to the eshes yefas to'ar, a captive woman that one marries after a war. The father represents Hashem, and the mother represents the Jewish people. During the year, we abandon our father and mother to pursue our heart's worldly desires. During Elul we have an entire month to focus on rebuilding these fundamental relationships and to regain our original level of closeness.

On Rosh Hashanah, Hashem judges us "as we are at that moment." Our judgement on that day will reflect any changes that we have brought about in ourselves during Elul, no matter how small they may be. Let us seize this precious opportunity to ensure that we will be inscribed immediately into the book of life, health and prosperity.