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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 27, 2013

Parshas Pinchas:The Ability to Rise to the Highest Levels despite our Humble Beginnings

"And G-d spoke to Moshe saying, 'Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon Ha'Kohen has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel in that he was zealous for my sake among them that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy" (Numbers 22: 11-12)

Rashi: "Because the tribes made fun of Pinchas, the son of Puti  whose mother's father fattened calves for idol worship yet he killed  the prince of the tribe of Israel. This is why the Torah traces his ancestry to Aharon."

Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita in Ta'am V'Da'as tells us that they scorned and mocked him because this act of zealotry is not in accordance with the character traits that the Torah wants us to emulate. The Jewish people have the character trait of having compassion for others and this act was so grave that he killed the head of one of tribes!

Therefore, the Torah traces his lineage to Aharon who loved peace and ran after making peace. In reality, the essence of the act of Pinchas was to make peace and that this murder was not for nothing. Rashi, though could be explained in a different fashion.

We know that the nature of converts and baalei teshuvah (returnees to Judaism) is to keep the mitzvos more stringently than most Jews. The reason is that since they were estranged from Torah for many years, they work hard to fix up their spiritual blemishes by being extra stringent on themselves! This is what the tribes were saying to Pinchas that because his mother's father fattened calves for idol worship he worked very hard to increase the honor of heaven and here is the source of his zealousness that he was able to kill Zimri.

Even if there would be the slightest tinge on the character of Pinchas because of what his grandfather did, the Torah connects his ancestry to Aharon. This shows that his act was for the sake of heaven at the highest level. So even if the tribes want to mock him because of his humble beginnings, the Torah tells us that it doesn't matter where he came from but look at what he was able to overcome!

We see from here that converts and baalei teshuvah, while they may have not been educated in the ways of Torah from their youth, they more than make up for their lack of knowledge through their dedication to the Torah and the keeping of the mitzvos. This is no small thing and these people deserve our utmost respect and we should try and help them as much as possible!

Shabbat Shalom