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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, April 4, 2013

Parshas Shemini: How to understand the deaths of Nadav and Avihu

"And a fire went out from Hashem and devoured them and they died before G-d" (Vayikra 10:2) There are many reasons given as to why Nadav and Avihu, two of Aharon's sons died: 1) they gave a halachic decision without asking permission from Moshe Rabbenu; 2) or that they drank wine when they did the sacrificial service; 3) they did not marry and did not fulfill the commandment of being fruitful and multiplying; 4) they said when are these two old people (Moshe Rabbenu and Aharon) going to die and you an me will sustain and lead the generation. Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky z"l in Emes L'Yaakov asks why the rabbis give so many potential reasons that these great people died and why was it not enough to give the reason the Torah gives that "they brought up a strange fire that they were not commanded to do?"

If we are talking about such great people, how could they have answered a question before asking Moshe himself? Rav Kamenetzky tells us there must be some level of hubris here, that caused this. Also, the fact that they drank some wine before doing the priestly service was not yet forbidden and not only that it was a day of great joy since it was the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan and they made a festive meal and had a little bit of wine but did not get drunk. It could be though that even on such a great day, they should have been more careful when doing the priestly service and should not have drank any wine. This caused a little bit of hubris and showed that they did not have proper fear of G-d at that point.

Even with the other reasons that are given, there could be answers to why they did what they did. Rav Kamentzky tells us that for every person there is a central point that attaches itself to him and that point is the one that is inclusive of all the others. We also find that many times the rabbis mention the many sins of a person and place it under one main category or umbrella which is representative of all the others.

Each person will have to make an accounting of their actions after they die and will have to explain their actions before G-d. At the end of the day, though G-d may place these things as a failure of ..... which is the main reason that caused his downfall in other areas as well.