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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.
Monday, July 22, 2013

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 1 Mishna 7: Having a connection to Bad People

"Natan of Arbel said, 'Keep aloof from a bad neighbor, do not associate with an evil man and do not give up the belief in retribution [wickedness will not succeed in the end]."

What is wrong with a bad neighbor? If I am strong in my values, do I really think that he will have the ability to influence me? The answer is that even if my values are good and I am strong in my beliefs, nonetheless the lifestyle of others can certainly effect me. This is why I have to choose where I live seriously because of the influence of my neighbors.

This goes hand-in-hand with the second part of the Mishna that one should stay away from an evil man. Rabbenu Yonah of Gerondi tells us that this is a tremendous transgression because if I associate with an evil man and transgress with him, then I have a portion in them because of my association with him.

There is a common misconception that if I have a connection with an evil person he will not affect me. Just the opposite! He has the ability to damage me more than I can affect him positively. This is the danger of doing kiruv (teaching non-religious Jews and bringing them closer to Torah). When a person is involved in this, they have to set up strict guidelines for themselves that they should not be affected negatively. Although this is a great mitzvah to bring other Jews closer to Torah, nonetheless, one has to be careful in such an endeavor.

The last part of the Mishna is directly connected to the previous statement. A person should not say in their heart, this evil person has it easy in this world, why shouldn't I have a good relationship with him? Everything is going great for them! Don't worry, It will happen in a short amount of time that this person will eventually be punished.

Sometimes, it looks like one has it easy it in this world. They have wealth, fame and power and all the trimmings that go with it. Behind the scenes, though, G-d is really giving that person the merit for the small amount of mitzvos that they have done in this world so that they will not merit anything in the next world.

The bottom line is that we want to associate with people in this world that will give us the best chance to help us reach our true spiritual potential. This will allow us to continue to grow and become the great people that we are destined to become!