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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, August 1, 2013

Ethics of Our Fathers Chapter 1 Mishna 8: The Power of Teshuva after Judgment

Yehudah ben Tabbai and Shimon ben Shatach received the oral tradition from the preceding. Yehudah ben Tabbai said: Do not (as a judge) play the part of a counselor; when the parties in a lawsuit are standing before you, regard them both as guilty but when they go away from you; after having submitted to the judgment, regard them both as innocent"

The first part of the Mishnah is talking about a case when a person is judging a case (whether it be a case of damages or divorce), that they should not reveal their thoughts on the case to one of the sides. This would certainly show favoritism and when people hear this, they will speak badly against him. The judge has to be impartial in all aspects of the case and must not give any advantage to either side.

Even at the beginning of the case, the Mishna continues, the judge should not lean to either side and think that he is the correct party. The reason is obvious, it will be considered corruption and illegal favoritism to one party! Therefore, each person as they appear in front of the court, must be looked at as guilty until the facts are clear to see which party is right.

When the two leave the courtroom, the judges must look at the two as being righteous, and after having submitted to the judgment, they should be regarded as innocent. The problem with this is that it is very difficult to look at one of them in this manner.  The reason is that the judgement was against them and therefore must have lied during the proceedings!

The answer is that the person has surely accepted the judgment  and even though he was found obligated to pay or whatever the other side claimed, nonetheless, we assume that he has done teshuvah and that the person will never do what they have done again. What an amazing statement! Even though the person is guilty, we assume that he will do teshuvah for the wrong that he did!


Normally when two sides come to beis din, each side has surely aggravated the other to no end. The reason they are coming to beis din in the first place is to air their grievance and have them decide who is right and who is wrong. When one side is ruled for over the other, the "wronged" side, after all the aggravation, will still want to do teshuvah for their previous misconduct. Incredible!

This is exactly what the Mishnah is telling us. Once the process is over and the beis din decides, that experience alone could put the fear of G-d into a person and cause them to have regret over what they have done. Is there any people in the world like the Jewish people?

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