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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.
Friday, August 23, 2013

Parshas Ki Savo: The Power of our Actions

"Then you shall call out and say before Hashem, your G-d, 'an Aramean tried to destroy my forefather. He descended to Egypt and sojourned there few in number and there he became a nation, great, strong, and numerous" (Deuteronomy 26:5)

Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky in his work Emes L'Yaakov asks why does the Torah use this language instead of saying like normal Lavan the Aramean? This comes to teach us, Rav Yaakov tells us that not only does Lavan hate Yaakov but all the Arameans hated him as well.

The reason is that when Yaakov went to Charan Yaakov said to them, 'My brethren, where are they?' Yaakov acted with respect towards them by asking with words of friendship and warmth. Even so, when the people gathered together to make a festive meal in the honor of the marriage of Yaakov and Rachel, they all knew full well that Lavan would not give Rachel to Yaakov in marriage but rather his older daughter Leah.

The Arameans knew what Lavan was up to but no one would reveal to Yaakov the truth. This is why the Torah tells us an Aramean he will be, he tried to destroy me and not the normal language of Lavan the Aramean.

This teaches a tremendous lesson about the world in which we live. You could have people live in a certain community that are influenced by some people in a negative way. Not only do they have an influence on the people around them, but the people themselves, even if they see injustice will not react or help.

We don't always realize the effect that we can have on others, positive and negative.  This reminds me of the story of a non-religious Jew that donated a lot of money to an Orthodox synagogue. The rabbi asked this man, why are you donating money to our synagogue?

The man told the rabbi the following story. He was in Israel and went to the Kotel (Western Wall). He saw a man praying there, swinging back and forth deep in concentration in his prayers. The man was so taken aback and impressed with what he saw, he said to himself that he wanted to donate money to a synagogue that this man would feel comfortable praying in. This is the reason that I am donating money to your synagogue.

Our actions matter and can have influence on others around us even if we don't have intention for this! This man praying at the Kotel, will get up to heaven after 120 years and will get tremendous reward for just praying at the Kotel and influencing this man to want to donate money to a synagogue. On the other hand, the actions of Lavan had such an effect on his peers that no one wanted to speak up against the injustice that occurred to Yaakov. Such is the power of our actions.

Shabbat Shalom