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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.
Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parshas Vayishlach: Fight the Yetzer Hara and Become Pure

"But he got up that night and took his two wives, his two handmaids, and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabok" (Genesis 32:23)

Rashi brings from the Midrash and asks where was Dinah at this time? The Midrash answers that she was placed in a locked box so that Esav would not look at her. Yaakov is punished for this because he prevented his daughter from marrying Esav. The reason is that she could have possibly influenced him to be better and do teshuvah so she was taken and defiled by Shechem.

Many commentaries are baffled by this and ask why Yaakov would have to give his daughter over to someone so evil? Rav Moshe Sternbuch explains in Chochma V'Da'as that Esav was truly evil and understood how to trap women to be with him. He never forced the women but was able to cajole them and convince them until they agreed to speak with him and do his wishes.

Dina was righteous and there wasn't any reason we should think that she would marry Esav but Esav would try his best to convince her. Maybe then she could have had a positive influence on him. This would have taught her how to speak to people like Esav and that would have prepared her better and she would not have fallen with Shechem.

This may have been ok for someone of the spiritual stature of Dina but the future generations would not have been able to withstand the test and certainly would fall in such a situation. Rav Sternbuch further clarifies and tells us that there are two types of ways to educate children.

One way is to totally separate from evil people and have nothing to do with them because they could have a negative influence on us. Another way of educating our children is that if we know their nature and they are strong in their beliefs, maybe they will have a positive influence on others and will not be effected by them.

Even so this is a dangerous option. Rav Shimon Shkop would tell his students that were interested in learning more worldly things about the danger it entails. He would explain that if a person put themselves in danger and then under the circumstances fell because of onus they were still held liable.

There is also the story of a student of the Ba'al Hatanya who went to learn a little bit in university. The Ba'al HaTanya warned him about the dangers lurking there. The student answered that when he learned by the Ba'al HaTanya he did not turn into such a righteous person so too by learning in university, it wouldn't effect him negatively.

The Ba'al HaTanya answered him that impurity makes one impure through touch but holiness is a hard thing to acquire and a vessel does not become holy unless it envelops the sacrifice and not through touch. The reason is because holiness is a hard thing to grasp while impurity happens just by being touched by it.

We see the power of the evil inclination just how far it is willing to go to trap us. May we learn and strengthen ourselves to fight against it and purify ourselves through the learning of Torah and keeping mitzvos!

Shabbat Shalom