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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.
Monday, August 5, 2013

The Month of Elul: A time for Introspection

In years gone by, on the Shabbos before the month of Elul was to begin,  as the chazzan (cantor) says "the month of Elul will be on such and such a day" people would faint at the mere mention of this month. There are 40 days from the beginning of Elul until Yom Kippur. They are days of introspection and a chance to reach out to G-d when He is so close to us.

Elul prepares us for the upcoming high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is time to take stalk of our lives, of what have done over the past year and what we need to work on. We hear the shofar every day of the month (except Shabbos and the day before Rosh Hashanah) to wake us out of our slumber from the past year. The day of judgement is coming.

The story is told of the mother of Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita who was busy during the month preparing for her court case. When a non-Jewish woman heard about his mother's plight, she asked her if there was anything she could do to help to which Rav Sternbuch's mother said, this is something only I can take care of!

If we were really going through a court case in this world, we would be working day and night to try and find ways to make sure we merit a good ruling. The same thing is true before Rosh Hashanah. We want to work especially hard to find favor in G-d's eyes during this time.

One of the ways we can do this is to try and do as many mitzvos as possible. Learning a little bit more than we would during the year, giving more to charity, acts of lovingkindness...things that will help shift the scale into a positive judgment.

We have to look at ourselves honestly and see where we have been during the past year to know where we want to be in the following year. The key is to work on things that I know I can do, no matter how small it may be.

When I do something on a regular basis even if it is something small, it helps us giving us building blocks for the future. It has to be something that we can do because if we take on too much and then can't do what we set out to accomplish, then we digress and say well it's too hard to change, I can't change...this is the best I can be.

One of things that Rav Sternbuch has told me many times is not to worry so much what one has done in the past. The reason is that if you dwell on the past and think of all of our terrible misdeeds then we have no future! This means that if we get stuck and dwell on the past, then we cannot go further.

The most important thing to keep in mind as we work on our Avodas Hashem (service to G-d) is to show G-d that we are trying to become better people. Even if we don't reach the goals we set but we are serious in our spiritual endeavors and want to improve that is good.

G-d just wants that we should try and become better. With a solid plan and taking on things to improve on, we surely will merit a positive judgement!