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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.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rosh Hashanah: All the Preparation is done, are we ready for Judgment?

Rosh Hashanah has finally arrived. The month of Elul has helped prepare us for these awesome days. We have been reading Psalm 27 every day which we continue to do until the end of Sukkos and we have heard the shofar every day as well.

Ashkenazim last Saturday night began saying Selichos (Penetential prayers) while Sefardim have been saying them all month. We have had a month to start preparing and now we are in the final day before it all comes about.

Rosh Hashanah can be an awesome day as we prepare ourselves to crown G-d king. Even though we do this every day, twice a day by saying the Shema, there is a special obligation to do this on Rosh Hashanah. The reason is that we want to feel that G-d is king. If we take that attitude into every day, then there is less chance that we will sin.

We need to have the fear of heaven and actually feel the trepidation! There is the famous story of the Beis Halevi where he used to put his hands over fire to feel what gehenom (hell) would feel like. His hands were literally dark brown from all the years of doing this. He would live his life every day in fear of G-d.

The Ari Zatzal (Rabbi Isaac Luria) said that if a person does not feel the trepidation and fear on Rosh Hashanah, then there is a blemish on their soul! This means that we have to take stock of our actions and what we do. Not only that, but we don't know what our real potential is and if we are lazy and don't use our strength's to our fullest, then G-d could have complaints against us and punish us.

As we go through the machzor and chant these liturgical poems, we realize the importance of the day. It is all about judgment, G-d's awesomeness and what we hope to aspire to. We cannot take anything for granted. Just because G-d granted us life last year, does not mean we merit it this year.

As we say, who will die by fire, water, killed, eaten by animals...who will become rich, who will be made guarantees. Nonetheless, we have to work hard to the best of our abilities and want to change.

Although Rosh Hashanah is only a day away, we still have the ability to do mitzvos to have a good judgement. This reminds me of the story of a man who comes to synagogue Rosh Hashanah evening and finds out that someone had taken his seat. He was so livid, nothing could calm him down.

Even when he went home and ate his festive meal, he was still bothered by this incident. He went to sleep and had the follow dream, that he was being judged in the heavenly court. He saw in front of him a huge scale and then heard a heavenly voice call out, 'Bring out all his mitzvos.'

All of a sudden thousands of white angels came out, some stronger, some weaker and that side of the scale went way down. After that, he heard another heavenly voice call out, 'Bring out his sins.' All of a sudden, he saw these black angels, some stronger, some weaker as they jumped on the other side of the scale.

The scale was balancing back and forth and it seemed that the side of the black angels was going further down and they appeared ready to tear him apart limb from limb. The man screamed out, 'Aren;t there any more mitzvos?' Silence. The man petrified not knowing what to do, screams out, 'I will do anything, I will even take yissurim (suffering).

After that, there were a huge amount of white angels that started coming out and jumped on the scale and pushed the scale to the side of merits. At this point, the man awoke from his dream shaking realizing what just transpired. Needless to say, the next day when he came to synagogue, he didn't care that his seat was taken as he enjoyed thoroughly all the singing and prayers the entire holiday.

May we all merit to be written in the book of life and a happy, healthy meaningful Rosh Hashahan to all.