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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, December 12, 2013

Parshas Vayechi: Exile is a Terrible Thing!

"And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years so the whole age of Yaakov was a hundred and forty-seven years" (Genesis 48:28)

Rashi asks why this parsha is considered a closed one. He answers that Yaakov's eyes were closed as well as the hearts of the Jewish people due to the pain and suffering of the servitude in Egypt. Rav Moshe Feinstein in Derash Moshe asks how this can be if Yaakov was still alive and the servitude in Egypt only began when Yosef and the brothers died?

The reason Rav Moshe answers is although they were in exile living under the good conditions set up by Pharaoh, they did not feel that the exile was bad. Since they were dependent on Pharaoh and the Egyptians for their good fortune, isn't this the worst type of exile that exists?

Had they felt the exile as a terrible thing, the eyes of Yaakov would not have been dimmed because of their suffering at the hands of the Egyptians. After Yaakov died things changed as they saw that they did not have the same goodness from the Egyptians as had been before!

We can take a great lesson from what Rav Moshe is telling us. Even if we live in a country that grants us the greatest freedom to have Yeshivas, girl schools, kosher food and the like, we are still beholden to that place. We even feel comfortable in such a place and forget that we are still suffering this bitter exile we find ourselves in!

We are not looking for pogroms or anti-semetism G-d forbid against the Jewish people but when we think we fit into that society and want to partake of the customs of that society, it is a recipe for disaster. As we have witnessed over the millennium, the more the Jewish people integrated into their society, the more the non-Jews around them hated them more

We are forced to live in certain societies and be part of them for livelihood...but at the same time we have to recognize that we are guests there. The problem is that we don't feel the exile and live it up too well in our country of residence!

When we feel too comfortable that is usually the time that the tide turns against us and we are forced to realize the bitterness of our exile. May we learn this lesson through keeping Torah and mitzvos and growing closer to G-d rather than through pogroms and the anti-Semites!

Shabbat Shalom