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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, January 16, 2014

Ethics of Our Fathers: Chapter 2 Mishna 12: Belief in G-d

"He used to say, 'If all the sages of Israel were in one scale of the balance, and Eliezer ben Hyrcanus in the other, he would outweigh them all. Abba Shaul, however, quoted him otherwise: If all the sages of Israel, including Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, were in one scale of the balance, and Elazar ben Arach in the other, he would outweigh them all"

The first part of the Mishna tells us that Eliezer ben Hyrcanus was greater than the other sages.  The reason is that whatever he learned he never forgot. This does not mean that the other sages were not great in their own right but rather it shows the power of how much a person is praised for remembering what they learn.

This is why a person has to constantly review what they learn. If they just learn without reviewing, how will they remember what they learned? This is what the Mishna praises, knowledge through review will bring a person to great heights!

The last part of the Mishna explains that Elazar ben Arach was in fact greater than these other sages. The reason is because his mind was sharper and he was able to understand things through great concentration and extrapolation. Does the beginning of the Mishna then contradict the latter?

In reality the commentaries tell us that they are not really arguing. One is speaking about the character trait of learning and retaining what one learns while the other speaks about the idea of sharpness and originality of thought. A person is able to accomplish both and these two traits are not mutually exclusive!

When we learn, we certainly to review it over and over again so we have clarity. At the same time, we also need to think about what we learn. The reason is not to take anything at face value and constantly think about the subject at hand.

We don't believe things that the Torah tells us because we just believe like a leap of faith. We know and understand things through knowledge and extrapolation. There is a mitzvah to believe in G-d through knowledge. As the first of the Ten Commandments tells us, 'I am the L-rd your G-d because I took you out of Egypt...'"

How do we know that G-d exists? He took us out of Egypt; i.e. He plays an active role in history. Belief in G-d is not something flippant and based on a one second epiphany but it can be deduced through logic and knowledge.

By constantly reviewing what we learn and sharpening our minds we inevitably come to understand more and more about G-d's constant role in the universe and our ability to relate to Him!