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Blog Archive

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.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

48 Ways to Acquire Torah: Simcha

How do we define what Simcha (Happiness) is according to the Torah. According to some commentaries, we look at happiness in the essence of our enjoyment when we learn Torah and keep mitzvos. From this we can learn a number of things.

The first thing we can take out is that if we don't learn Torah and keep mitzvos with great joy and excitement, then we won't be able to keep the Torah the way we need to. The reason is that if we look at Torah and mitzvah observance as a burden and as being too difficult, then why would we keep it and how would we pass it down to the next generation?

Happiness elevates a person to reach tremendously high spiritual levels. So much so, that G-d's presence does not dwell on someone that is sad. We see from this that keeping's one's focus and serve G-d out of love and enjoyment help a person in their mitzvah observance.

When we say the Shema every day, in the first paragraph we say "V'Ahavta Es Hashem Elokecha..." "You should love the L-rd your G-d..." The root of the word to love is either Ahav to love or the letters Heh and Beis to make the word Hav, which means to give. If you want to have this close relationship with G-d and His Torah, you must give of yourself to do it.

The more effort that one exerts in his understanding the vastness of the Torah, the more sweet the Torah is. The idea, as difficult as it may be will be to keep our focus on what we need to do vis-a-vis our relationship with G-d regardless of the difficult situations we may find ourselves in.

Happiness in general is something worthwhile to acquire. The reason is that if we look at everything as being bad, difficult with a poor disposition to the world, then it can be a very depressing place to live. Do we look at the cup as half full or empty? Shouldn't we be thankful for everything we have regardless  of everything else going on around us?

There is a story about the students of the Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Elijah of Vilna) who had very difficult lives and suffered from extreme poverty. The Gaon would send his students to visit sick people in the hospital before Shabbos. After these visits, his students came into Shabbos totally transformed. The reason was simple: they saw people who had pains and all kinds of ailments but they themselves were healthy!

By looking at the world with different eyes, we can see the good that we have instead of complaining and worrying about what I don't have and the difficulties that we may go through. There is so much to be thankful for. Let us live every day and focus on the positive things that we have!