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.
Friday, October 18, 2013

Parshas Vayera: The Desire to Keep Mitzvos

"And the L-rd appeared to him by the plains of Mamre as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day" (Genesis 18:1)

Rashi tells us that Avraham sat by the entrance to his tent and was troubled that there were no guests coming and then the angels in the form of men came. Rav Moshe Feinstein in Derash Moshe tells us that this is a wonder because why should Avraham be upset that there are no guests and not be able to fulfill the mitzvah of hachnas orchim (having guests)? After all if there are no guests around, then there is no mitzvah of hachnasas orchim.

Not only that, Rav Moshe tells us but this is more of an onus even when one could have performed the mitzvah and was not able to. The reason is because under these circumstances, there was no mitzvah to be done here at all since there were no guests! This is similar to someone who is troubled by the fact that during the week he cannot perform the mitzvah of keeping Shabbos; since it is not Shabbos at that time then there is no obligation to keep it!

The reason that Avraham is upset over here is because of his great desire to do chesed and being unable to do so. Here he had the great desire to have guests and was upset that he could not fulfill the mitzvah in the Torah of hachnasas orchim.

This is similar to Moshe Rabbenu's desire to set up the cities of refuge even though he could not establish the mitzvah without setting up all six of them. He had the desire to do so but was unable to fulfill the mitzvah. The fact that he could not do it was not a deterrent rather it was a show of desire to keep the mitzvah even though under the circumstances he could not do so.

This teaches us a tremendous lesson. Even though in the cases of Avraham and Moshe they were exempt from the mitzvot that they wanted to keep because the circumstances did not allow for it, nonetheless they showed a strong connection to the mitzvah even though they couldn't keep it. The lesson we need to learn is to love the mitzvot that we do regardless of how hard they may be and how much they cost.

Mitzvos have the ability to draw us closer to G-d and do His will regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Whether we are tired, not in the mood...or whatever the yetzer hara (evil inclination) throws at us, we have to be "on call" to fulfill the mitzvos day and night to the best of our ability.

When we say the Shema twice a day, we say "V'ahavata es Hashem Elokecha..." that we should love the L-rd your G-d..." The root of the word V'ahavta is ahav or to love. If we break the root of the word down further we have the two letters hav. In Aramaic this means to give. If we want to have a connection to G-d and grow to love Him, we must give of ourselves. This will lead us to want to do more, keep more mitzvos and develop ourselves into people that are givers and leaders.

Shabbat Shalom