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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.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The 48 Ways to Acquire Torah: Minimizing Sleep

The next of the 48 ways to acquire Torah is minimizing sleep. The purpose of sleep is to allow our bodies to function and re-energize.  A person needs a certain amount of sleep to be able to function properly. Obviously, the less sleep that one gets, the less they are able to function to their optimal level.
On the other hand, if we sleep too much one may love it so much that you end up sleeping your life away. The best way to maximize the recuperative powers of sleep is to take a nap, which will allow you to regain momentum
 A person knows how much sleep that one needs. If we don't know, then one way to do it is to decrease the amount we sleep by 10 minutes for a week, to a week and a half and then another 10 minutes until one sees how much sleep you really need to function properly.
According to the Rambam, we need 8 hrs of sleep, that is the maximum but one can actually train one's self to sleep less. The less sleep will allow to learn more and maximize the time that we are awake!
Keep in mind, though that the Yetzer Harah (evil inclination) works very hard to make sure that it won't happen.The Yetzer Harah will help you to get less sleep but it will cause you to have more worries about other things, The first thing that will happen will be for one to fall asleep! One has to have a clear head when doing this because if you can function on less sleep, then the more tired one is, you are more likely to fall asleep!
We not only have to see how much sleep we need to function but we need to be in a good state of mind to be able to function as well!


Avoid the "Zombie Life"
The struggle against drowsiness and fatigue is the struggle for meaning. We use just a fraction of our potential. You can go through an entire lifetime and at the same time be unconscious to much of the world around you. Don't walk, talk, or eat like a semi-conscious person. Pay attention to what you're doing at all times.
Watch out for zombieism. Don't walk around with "nothing" going though your head. Sometimes you are waiting in line at the supermarket and your head is completely dead, without a thought in your mind. Shake your head to stay awake. Pump yourself: What am I doing? Where am I going? And why am I going there?
In Judaism, our basic drive is to gain clarity. "Wake up" to the purpose of your life. Let go of illusions about fame, romance, etc. Don't get the shock of a cold bath when you graduate college and find out that not everyone automatically becomes a stock-optioned executive.
You want greatness. You want to be good. You want to help humanity. What are you going to do about it? Tackle the big issues and get real answers. Ask yourself: "What am I living for, and what do I want to do with the rest of my life?"
Don't just think about tomorrow or next year, but do a long-range forecast: What do I want inscribed on my tombstone? Will it say that I graduated college, made a million dollars, and owned a large house? Or will it say that I helped and cared for humanity?
Figure out the pleasure of being alive. If your ideals are high and far-reaching, you're not going to want to sleep away your life. You don't want to quit this game of living. You want to be great. Recognize that. Sure, living is a struggle. But boy, is it exciting!
You Can Change
We all have moments of awareness, an immediate recognition of "a-haaaaa." You hear something that makes sense. You have a first crack of light – an insight, a truth, a moment of recognition that life can be beautiful. This is the pleasure of learning wisdom. The light bulb goes on, and as far as that idea is concerned, you've been asleep until now. It's an exhilarating sensation of waking up.
Yet we can have such moments of clarity... and then fall asleep again. You may finish reading this and say, "Yes, that's a good point. I should think this through and make a plan. After all, greater awareness in life is something I'm interested in."
These thoughts are flittering through your mind. But as soon as you close the book, it's back to sleep. Is that right?
When you have an insight, capture it. Like the time you were driving a car and felt drowsy. You fell asleep for a moment and veered off the road. You caught yourself and for that moment you were wide awake. You remember that adrenalin shock. You are not going to let it happen again.
When you gain a moment of clarity, immediately make a decision. Decide that you can change, that things can be different.
The Jewish term for spiritual awakening is "teshuva," which means to return, to straighten out. Look at the damage your mistakes have caused, and consider how you've lost out as a result.
No matter how old you are, you can change. You can find truth and act on it.
Recognize that waking up is your battle. Now go out there and win.
Why is "Waking Up" a Way to Wisdom?
  • The struggle of life is the struggle to be awake.
  • Decide that life is good. Otherwise you'll go to sleep.
  • Get the maximum out of your body. But don't torture it either!
  • Don't miss out on life's opportunities and pleasures by oversleeping.
  • When we're excited about a project, our creative juices and mental faculties are in full gear.
  • Watch out for "zombie-ism." Don't walk around devoid of thoughts in your head.
  • Too much sleep dulls the mind.
  • Tiredness is a habit. Break it.
  • Unless we take practical steps to stay awake, sleep is going to overcome us.
  • Whenever you learn something new, wake up to the recognition that you were partially asleep before.
  • If you learn how to live with joy, sleep vanishes.
  • In the "final sleep