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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

Parshas Yisro: Seeing is better than Hearing

"When Yisro, the priest of Midyan, Moshe's father-in-law, heard of all that G-d had done for Moshe and for Yisrael his people, and the L-rd had brought Yisrael out of Mitzrayim" (Exodus 18:1)

Yisro heard either the war with Amalek or the giving of the Torah and the splitting of the Red Sea according to the Gemara in Zevachim 116a. Rav Moshe Feinstein Z"l asks in Derash Moshe but didn't the whole world hear what happened there? Even if we say that hearing means understanding the other nations as well heard these things!

In reality, Rav Moshe explains there is no comparison in hearing something and seeing it with one's own eyes.  Even if someone hears the truth, without proper introspection, it will not have that great an impact on a person's life.  Proof of that is when Moshe comes down from the mountain and only breaks the tablets after seeing what the Jewish people are doing in regards to the sin of the golden calf.

It could be that even if the nations heard about the great miracles that occurred in Egypt, how did it effect there everyday life? Even if people saw miracles in front of their eyes, did it make them more into G-d fearing individuals? We would think so but the reality may be very different.

The reason is even after witnessing miracles if a person does not use that spiritual uplift to impact their lives and cause them to take stock and change, then what was its purpose? In our everyday life we have the ability to look beyond what is happening. This is because if we think about our daily events, we should be able to see G-d's hand in it someway.

It doesn't mean we always understand why things happen as we live in a world where G-d's ways are hidden but at the same time we can take stock of events and see the goodness that He does for us. This is not always an easy thing but He gives us the ability to grow from our trials and tribulations.

The thing we need to keep in mind is that when things happen to us that clearly shows Divine intervention at some level, we have to use that sacred time and allow us to benefit from it and grow spiritually. If we don't take advantage of that, it disappears quickly.

Yisro had the ability to internalize the message and it effected him to change. The thousands and millions who heard about it, did not get the message and therefore it didn't effect them. In recent history we have seen great miracles in the Jewish state of Israel just by all the rocket attacks and minimal death of civilians.

Even the secular media called it a miracle! The problem is that saying those words mean nothing if we don't get the message and internalize it and cause us to change. G-d does not have to change nature for us to see Him we just have to know how to look and take spiritual advantage!

Shabbat Shalom