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.
Monday, June 17, 2013

Ethics of Our Fathers: Chapter 1 Mishnah 2: The Basis for the World's Existence

"Shimon Hatzadik was one of the last survivors of the Great Assembly. He used to say, The world is based on three principles: Torah, worship and acts of loving kindness" The world could not have existed without the Torah since the Torah is the blueprint for creation. It is G-d's handiwork of His existence and role in history.

The learning of Torah has the ability to help man reach it's true potential if its teachings are adhered to and internalized. When we return the Torah to the ark Monday, Thursday and on Shabbat and festivals, we say that "the Torah is the Tree of life to those who grasp it." This means if we learn it properly and internalize its timely messages, it will effect us and change us!   This is the power that the Torah can have. It is not how much of ourselves we put into the Torah but how much Torah we put into ourselves.

When the Mishna tells us that one of the pillars of the world is worship, it literally means the bringing of sacrifices to the Temple. Since we do not have the Temple today (may it be speedily rebuilt in our days), the worship is through prayer.  Sometimes we look at prayer as something more of a rudimentary practice that we don't get that much out of. The purpose of prayer is to draw close to G-d and He has given us the ability to do that three times a day.

We pray for all kinds of things, livelihood, health, redemption... Even if our prayers are not answered, we continue to pray and draw ourselves closer to our Father in heaven. This was the purpose of the sacrifices because a sacrifice in Hebrew is called a korban. The root of the word korban is karev which means to draw close.

Once when I was in South America and I helped out when cows were killed (at that point I thought I would become a vegetarian forever!) I tried to imagine being in the Temple and the shochet (ritual slaughter) was the Kohen Gadol (high priest) and I was bringing the animal as a sacrifice.

After putting it in that perspective and seeing the process from beginning to end, it gave me such a feeling in spirituality that I did not have for such a long time! People may say how could we go back to that system, it is so archaic, barbaric in ways but in reality, it can really draw us close to the Source!

The last of the three pillars are acts of loving kindness. The reason this is such an important pillar that the world stands on is because it gives a person to be a giver. Many commentaries tell us that if a person helps someone else, whether physically (getting him a job, giving tzedakah) or spiritually (helping someone learn to pray, make blessings) it is a greater pleasure for the giver even though he is actually helping someone else.

The reason behind this is because we feel good when we give of ourselves even if we don't receive any physical reward. When we are born, we are takers and continue to take and be helped because we can't function without the help! It takes a long time to learn how to give and help and when we give of ourselves it transforms ourselves into the benevolent people we can be!