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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, June 13, 2013

Parshas Chukas: The Inexplainable Mitzvos

"Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon saying, "This is the decree of the Torah which Hashem has commanded saying, Speak to the Children of Israel and they shall take to you a completely red cow which is without blemish, and upon which a yoke has not come" (Numbers 19:1-2)

Rashi explains that the Satan and the nations of the world will say what do you need this mitzvah for and what is the reason behind it? Therefore, the Torah calls this a "chok" (a mitzvah that is given without any fathomable reason as to why I have to do it) and it is a decree in front of Me and you don't have permission to question Me on this.

Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita in Ta'am V'Da'as asks why this mitzvah is singled out as a "chok" more than any other "chok" in the Torah, like by sha'atnez, or the laws of separating milk and meat? What is so special about the mitzvah of the red heifer?

Rav Sternbuch learns that the Torah chose the red heifer as the ultimate chok because of the contradiction that the mitzvah poses because it purifies the one that became impure and makes the one that is pure impure. In reality though, even if the Torah gives us reasons for the mitzvos that we do, this is not the ultimate reason of why we perform the mitzvos.

At the end of the day, the Torah is so deep that we cannot possibly fathom the reasons for the mitzvos that G-d has decreed and even if we do understand the reasons for the mitzvos, it is only a tiny fraction of their essence and why we perform them.

This is why the Torah tells us "this is the chok of the Torah" because in essence, the entire Torah is really a chok and we only understand a small amount about the reasons for the mitzvos. This doesn't mean we shouldn't try and understand the reasons for them but it should be clear that this is G-d's wisdom and what we do know is only scratching the surface.

Another way to undertand this is that the foundation of the mitzvah of the red heifer is that it makes the one who is impure pure and the one who is pure impure. From this we can learn how to better serve G-d. People have different strengths and weaknesses and everyone is different. Also, the source of a person's soul is different one to another.

For example, one person's strength in service to G-d may be another's weakness and vice-versa. Therefore, every one of us should be introspective and know where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This in turn, will help us finding our special path to G-d and helping us to reach our true potential.

Shabbat Shalom