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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 2, 2014

Parshas Bo: Don't Let G-d take away our ability to do Teshuvah

"And you may relate in the ears of your son, and of your son's son, what things I have done in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am G-d" (Exodus 10:2)

Rashi explains that this means that G-d has been playing and mocking Pharaoh throughout all the plagues that He brought upon Egypt. Rav Moshe Sternbuch in Chochmah V'Da'as explains that throughout all the plagues that occurred outside of nature to the Egyptians, Pharaoh still refused to let the Jewish people leave even at the expense of the damage it caused to his decimated country.

He could have rid himself of the Jewish people very easily and that would have saved the people of his country undo suffering. He was so stubborn and refused to let them go preventing this evil person from doing teshuvah.

The Rambam explains in the Laws of Repentance Chapter 6 Halacha 3 that 'it is possible that a person could sin a great sin or many sins until he will have to pay in some way for the transgressions that he has done. Sometimes if they have done them with their own will and knowledge they will be prevented from repenting so that they will continue their evil ways until they die'.

This is why the Torah speaks over hear and tells us that G-d hardened Pharaoh's heart since he sinned from the outset by enslaving the Jewish people and making their lives bitter. G-d then prevented him from repenting thereby being able to exact punishment for his terrible actions. Rav Sternbuch then asks that if G-d hardened his heart, why did He then send Moshe to tell him that he should repent knowing that he would not let the Jewish people leave?

The reason is because G-d wanted to show to the world that at the time He prevents someone from repenting, there is nothing anyone can do to fight it! So G-d mocked Pharaoh by sending all the plagues and strengthening Pharaoh's stubbornness! This teaches us an important lesson.

If we ourselves do not repent on the transgressions that we do sometimes we will be judged by G-d's character trait of strict justice which will prevent us from being remorseful for our bad actions and not allow us to repent. This is what is needed for us to tell our children and their children's children! If we ourselves are stubborn and refuse to change, then sometimes G-d will allow us to continue on that path and take that ability away from us.

This is a very scary idea. We have to be very careful that if we do transgress that we should repent from the bottom of our hearts. We don't want to live our lives like blind people and have that great ability to repent taken away from us. May we do G-d's bidding and even if we fail at some level, we need to pick ourselves up, admit our mistakes and become better people before that opportunity is taken away from us.

Shabbat Shalom