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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, July 11, 2013

Introduction to Derech Hashem

One of the great rabbis more than 300 years ago, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (better known as the Ramchal) wrote an epic work called Derech Hashem (The Way of G-d). The book discusses many topics including the purpose of the creation of man, his responsibility in this world, mitzvah observance, the fight between the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) and the Yetzer Ha'Tov (good inclination), our relationship to non-Jews, the spiritual worlds and how they influence us as well as a discussion about Shabbos and the holidays.

Even though this work is steeped in Kabbalah, nonetheless, it can be understood at a basic level and have a tremendous influence on us. It is not an easy book to go through but there are fundamental principles about Judaism that every Jew needs to know.

First of all, shouldn't I try and understand the purpose of my creation and how I interact with the world? If G-d set me up here with my specific strengths and weaknesses to reach my potential, does that mean that my free will is limited? If the soul is so powerful that G-d Himself puts it into the body that best fits it, how does the soul (the most spiritual thing ever created) have the ability to stay in the body and not transform it into a spiritual reality?

If we know G-d to be just and good, how do we explain evil? What is evil's purpose in this world? Is suffering considered bad for me or is it a way to reach perfection in the next world? What role do angels or other spiritual forces play in the world?

These are some of the ideas that the Ramchal brings out in this book and we will try and bring them down to earth to understand at our own level. We will highlight the chapter, adding insights and anecdotes to make it more understandable and user friendly.

Anyone is free to comment or give suggestions and we hope to begin next week with Chapter 1 which  discusses G-d.