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.
Monday, March 4, 2013

Half-baked religion worse than no religion

By Rav Moshe Sternbuch

            “Trepidation has taken hold of me, because of the wicked who have forsaken [ozvei] Your law” (Tehillim 119:53). The Vilna Gaon zt”l reads ozvei as ozrei: we are consumed with trepidation when the wicked seek to assist the Torah. Our erring brethren are currently claiming that the Torah is wonderful and unique, and that it merely has to be amended somewhat to make it acceptable to the whole nation. For example, we have to be flexible about the laws of conversion and marriage, so as to take into account the large numbers of halachik non-Jews, which were deliberately brought in from the former Soviet Union. Let us accept everybody with open arms, they say, without the need for them to undertake observance of mitzvos.

            “The proud have had me greatly in derision; yet I have not turned aside from your Torah. I have remembered Your laws which are of old, O Hashem, and have comforted myself” (Ibid 119:51-52). These people are deriding us for sticking to the Torah only, but we do not turn aside one iota from it. This is not the first time in our history that we face such challenges, but we find comfort in the Torah itself. As we said last week, The Torah is kept in the kodesh hakodoshim as a reminder that we cannot fathom its holiness, and any attempts to tamper with it are likely to have dire consequences.

            The Mizrachi (as they used to be known) are now showing their true face. Already many decades ago Rav Chaim Brisker zt”l saw through them. Once one of their rabbonim was supposed to talk in Brisk, but Rav Chaim was opposed to it. People could not understand him. The person seemed to be learned and have fine middos, but Rav Chaim compared the divrei Torah uttered by this person to kosher food cooked in a treif pot.

            Similarly, in the early days of the State, his son, the Brisker Rov zt”l, was vehemently opposed to a United Religious Front between the Aguda and the Mizrachi, even though other rabbonim praised the idea as one that would be likely to lead to harmony between the religious factions.

            They cloak their warped outlook with a veneer of religiosity, but in reality they want to uproot religion. Now that they are adopting an open anti-Torah platform and aligning themselves with an extreme anti-Torah party, Rav Chaim’s foresight is evident for all to see.

            Our response to all this is to beseech Hashem, who has presented us with this trial, that he will save us in His great mercy, but we must also educate our students about the essence of Torah. Rabbomim and roshei yeshiva must give the bochurim chizuk, and encourage them to pray properly, and they should also emphasize how dear they are in the eyes of Hashem, how the continued existence of the whole nation depends on them, and how vital it is that Torah remains the predominant feature of our lives and not a fleeting one.

            The Chazon Ish zt”l already said that we are more afraid of the "candies" offered by anti-Torah elements than by their decrees. Our duty is to remain steadfast in the face of various temptations being offered to bochurim and avreichim to lure them away from their learning. We must realize that nothing is sweeter than Torah, and any "candies" may appear to be sweet, but their end is bitter. In this period of parashas Zochor and Purim we must counteract the forces of Amolek by reinforcing our emuno and strengthening our hasmodo in learning.

            May we merit to welcome moshiach zidkeinu speedily and without suffering.