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.
View my complete profile


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, June 26, 2013

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 1 Mishna 3: Serving G-d for the Right Reasons

"Antigonus of Socho received the oral tradition from Shimon Ha'Tzaddik. He used to say, 'Be not like servants who serve the master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve the master without the expectation of receiving a reward, and let the fear of Heaven be upon you"

The beginning of every chapter in Ethics of our Fathers starts with the phrase, 'All Israel have a share in the world to come.' The world to come is the place where after 120 years in this world, we will receive our reward for the mitzvos that we have done in the world. If this is true, aren't we doing the mitzvos for the sake of reward in the next world as the first part our Mishna tells us?

Yes, but as the second part of the Mishna tells us it is better and a higher level to serve G-d by being a servant without expectation of receiving a reward. This can better be explained by the following story.

Someone once asked me what would happen if after 120 years I found out that really everything the Torah taught was a lie (G-d forbid) and I had "wasted" my life with all these odd rules and stringencies  where I would receive no reward or anything for it!

My answer was very simple. Yes, even if I would G-d forbid find out that the Torah was not true, at least I lived my life in the most moral and meaningful way. Not only that, it had changed my life and developed me into a totally different person!

The purpose of serving G-d and doing the mitzvos are to be close to Him and to learn from His ways. He gives us the ability to do that keeping the Torah and doing mitzvos. Obviously as Torah Jews we believe that this is the ultimate truth as passed down through the millenia.

This is what it means to serve G-d even if we wouldn't receive any reward because we believe it is the right thing to do. Through this we serve G-d through love and fear. We fear G-d because we realize His awesomeness and His ability to punish.

Fear of G-d and relating to His awesomeness makes us feel small and inconsequential. At the same time, it gives us the ability to show Him proper respect and act accordingly to the way He wants us to act.