Blog Archive

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.
View my complete profile


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, September 12, 2013

Yom Kippur is upon us: Let's Change

Yom Kippur is just a day away. This is the culmination of the month of Elul and the ten days of repentance. We have had this whole to prepare deciding which things we are going to try and work on and setting up a plan in which to do so.

This is the holiest day of the year but an inspiring and uplifting one as well. We act like angels where we don't eat or drink and we say the confession a number of times. It is a solemn day where we realizes our weaknesses and prepare to rectify them.

We can't dwell on the past of what we have done because one who does that has no future. This means that the more I think about the bad that I have done and the seemingly futility of trying to change can destroy a person's will and want to forget about the whole thing.

The point of Yom Kippur is to realize that I have wasted my potential but not be broken by it. Realize that I have made mistakes but try and make constructive ways to change. As the Rambam tells us, if I just admit that I have done something wrong, that is the basic mitzvah of teshuvah.

The reason for this is because we are great at rationalizing why we do bad things. We can justify why we spoke lashon hara against someone; we can make excuses about our bad character traits but at the end of the day, admitting I have done something wrong is a tremendous thing!

Obviously we have to do more than that but the idea is to say I have made a mistake. G-d is not interested that people serve Him out of fear lest they do something wrong, they will be dealt severely in gehinom (hell). G-d wants us to serve Him out of love of His mitzvos and wants us to cling to Him to receive His benefit in this world.

As we pray in synagogue for most of the night and day, we must realize what the goal of the day is. The goal of the day is to admit we have done things wrong (when they apply)  and really really want to change our actions. This means we have to have a well thought out plan of what we want to change and then go out and make those changes.

This is easier said than done but we are showing G-d that we are serious in our quest to change. When we show G-d our true colors of who we want to be even if we don't always act that way, He will have mercy on us. The reason is because He draws us even closer after we sin.

This is truly miraculous because if I have already sinned towards Him, how can I now be closer to Him if I do teshuvah? If I stole from someone and then tell them later I did it and apologize, is that person going to ever look at me in the same way? Most likely not but G-d looks at us in even a better light because of it.

As we look at the viduy (confession) and see all the things that we have done wrong it should inspire us to want to change and become close to G-d. Even if we are sometimes broken by our actions and think that we can never change, never lose hope because G-d has a tremendous amount of mercy and only wants to see us succeed.

In the last few hours before the holiday, let us think in retrospect of what we have done and what we can do to change. May this inspire us to become the great people that we can.

Have a meaningful and easy fast