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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 16, 2013

Parshas Ki Tetze: Don't be like the People of Amalek

"Remember what Amalek did to you on the way and he struck those of you who were hindmost, all the weaklings at your rear, when you were faint and exhausted and he did not fear G-d" (Deuteronomy 25:17)

There is an obligation to remember what Amalek did to us in every generation even though we would not be able to fulfill our obligation even if we knew who they were because we are still in exile. Rav Moshe Feinstein in Derash Moshe tells us that we have to remember that man  has the ability to do evil and deny G-d's existence even when witnessing miracles!

Even when the Jewish people were in the desert, the Amalekites were the first nation to attack them. At first glance this does not make any sense because the Jewish people at the time were on the biggest role of their lives. This means that with all the miracles that G-d did for them, especially splitting the sea, the Amalekites did not care and attacked.

Rav Moshe learns from here that a person has to be so careful not to transgress the most stringent laws so as not to corrupt their soul. A person therefore should not rely on themselves for the good that they do lest they fall into the hands of the yetzer hara and transgress.

This means that even if we do good things, we cannot rest on our laurels! We have to work hard and serve G-d properly by keeping his mitzvos and going in the right direction. If we fail and don't work on ourselves constantly, we could transgress very easily and end up like the Amalekites!

Even after hearing about the great miracles that G-d had done for the Jewish people, the Amalekites were not willing to give credence to such things and explain it away as nature. For them, the supernatural does not and will not ever exist.

For the Jewish people on the other hand, the miracles by G-d got them out of Egypt so they could serve Him and receive the Torah. They were held to a higher standard and obligated to be introspective of everything that happened to them.

This is what G-d wanted for them as they traveled through the desert. He wanted them to work on their emunah and belief to raise them up to a very high spiritual reality. Even in our own generation, when things don't go the way we think or the way we want, they are tests to raise up the spiritual ladder. These tests define who we are but we have the free will to how we are going to react.

Are we going to look at these trials and tribulations as a way to build ourselves and sanctify G-d's name or are we G-d forbid not going to get the message and stay the same. This reminds of the story of a rabbi giving a class about belief in G-d. Someone in the back spoke up and said rabbi, I don't need to hear about G-d, I have seen Him in action.

I was once riding my motorcycle and skidded on oil and my bike went off the road over a cliff. I screamed out for help and lifted my arm which miraculously came to grasp a branch of a tree and then I was subsequently pulled up and saved. So rabbi, I don't need to hear stories about belief in G-d in this world, I saw it for myself.

The rabbi after hearing this story said to the young man, 'but who is the one that threw you off the cliff?' As we move through the month of Elul on our way to judgment day, may we merit to understand G-d's messages and change and become the great people we can.

Shabbat Shalom