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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.
Thursday, November 7, 2013

Parshas Vayetize: Be Thankful for what we Have

"And Yaakov vowed a vow saying, 'If G-d will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go and will give me bread to eat, and clothing to wear" (Gemesis 28:21)

The Medrash Tanchuma tells us that every claim that Yaakov had to G-d, G-d answered. When Yaakov said if G-d will be with me, G-d answered I will be with you. Then Yaakov said You (G-d) will guard me, G-d answered that I will guard you wherever you will go. When Yaakov said give me bread and don't forsake my livelihood G-d answered if I promise you that I will supply you with food but why do you ask for more? This G-d did not promise.

Rav Moshe Sternbuch in Ta'am V'Da'as explains that Yaakov was worried that maybe he would sin  and G-d's promises to him would not be fulfilled. This is why Yaakov said if G-d will be with me and give me bread to eat. G-d did not promise this so that Yaakov would continue to pray for his needs.

This Midrash Rav Sternbuch tells us is a fundamental principle of Judaism. In reality, G-d does not owe mankind anything even if he is righteous like Yaakov but rather one should pray for one's needs. The rich person should pray that he will be able to sustain his wealth and not lose it while the poor person prays that he will have some money with which to live.

A father prays for his children that they should be healthy and that he should be able to educate them properly in the ways of Torah. A person should remember that prayer always helps even for our basic needs.

G-d desires our prayers and this is why sometimes people may have a hard time with livelihood or with their children so a person should be dependent on G-d and pray for these things. The primordial snake looks like he had it easy. After the sin of eating from the tree of knowledge, the punishment for the snake was it's legs were chopped off and food would readily be available for him.

If food is readily available for him, what is so great about the punishment he received? He doesn't have to work so hard to eat! The answer is that because of this, the snake will have no connection to G-d. All his needs will be provided for and he won't ever have to pray for anything.This is G-d saying that I don't want your prayers and stay away from me.

G-d doesn't owe us anything. The fact we exist and depend on Him is enough. He gives us the ability to pray to Him and draw close to Him. We need to be thankful for the things that we have and realize all the goodness that G-d gives us.

This week I became a grandfather for the first time. After seeing my daughter in the hospital and seeing that beautiful baby boy, I couldn't help but to think of all the goodness that G-d has bestowed upon me. It became even clearer one day this week while I was on the bus and I saw a sick child suffering from a terrible disease. This made the reality for me even more obvious how much more we have to thank G-d and be happy with what He has given us.

Shabbat Shalom