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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.
Thursday, May 9, 2013

The 48 Ways to Acquire Torah: Asking and Answering

The next of the 48 ways to acquire Torah is asking and answering. Judaism is all about asking questions but there are different ways to ask. There is asking a question because one is curious and wants to know the answer and there is asking a question to ask a question but the answer does not have any relevance to my life.

We also know that sometimes the question is better than the answer that we receive. In any case, the purpose of questioning to get to the crux of the issue to know what the truth is. Sometimes though, the answers to our questions may be difficult to comprehend and understand.  At the same time, we have to be ready to handle the answer even if it may be difficult to accept.

We also have to be careful when answering questions as well. It is important to know who is asking the question and what is behind it, only then can we give a truthful answer. We see this clearly by the answer given to the evil son in the Passover Hagadah.

We are told to blunt his teeth. What kind of answer is that? After all, there is not much difference between the question that the evil son and the wise son ask. The difference is what the intention of their question is.

The wise son asks his question because he is seriously interested in the answer. The evil son is really giving an answer and it is impossible to answer and answer! This is why the Hagadah tells us to blunt his teeth because since he is not interested in an answer, we only add fuel to the fire!

In answering someone's query, we also have to be aware of what the implications may be. This means that our answer must be to what the questioner is asking. If someone asks us for directions and we are not sure and send them the wrong way, we have just wasted their time and caused them to go out of their way for nothing.

We also have to have proper guidance to make sure that we give proper advice to those that require it or send them to someone that can. This is a tremendous responsibility and we have to be ready to say I don't know and ask someone who is more knowledgeable than us. This not only shows humility on our part but it helps the person who needs the information!