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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.
Friday, February 21, 2014

Parshas Vayakel: Where is my Donation going?

"Them has he filled with wisdom of heart, to do all manner of work, of the engraver,and of the craftsman, and of the embroider, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet , and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise artistic work." (Exodus 35:35)

Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita in Ta'am V'Da'as explains this verse from a story of the Rosh Yeshiva Rav Chaim of Volozhin. Rav Chaim would explain this verse with the following story. There was a person who collected money for the yeshiva and told Rav Chaim that he needed a wagon and a horse so he would always be ready to go and would not have to depend on a wagon driver whom he would have to waste time waiting for and costing the yeshiva extra money that it did not need to spend.

The money collector also claimed that he needed to buy new clothes so that he would look respectable in the eyes of the people whom he was collecting money from. Not only that, if they would see this person all dressed up, they would be more inclined to give him even more money for the yeshiva. He also needed a young man to accompany him at all times which would inevitably bring in more money to the yeshiva. Rav Chaim acquiesced to all the things that the man wanted.

The money collector then went to a certain city. A certain man there gave a generous sum of money each year but this year he was not willing to give anything. Not only that, he regretted that he ever gave money to the yeshiva in the first place!

The money collector came back to Rav Chaim and told him over the whole story. Rav Chaim was very angry and he told the money collector that the next time he goes to that city, he himself wants to accompany him to see what the story was with this particular individual.

Rav Chaim went with the man and when he arrived at the city, this individual saw the rosh yeshivah and trembled greatly in his presence. Rav Chaim asked him why he had not given any money this year like in previous years. The man told him when he saw the money collector all decked out in fancy clothes with his own horse and wagon and someone serving and helping him, that is not what he gave money to the yeshiva for!

He thought that his money was going to help the students of the yeshiva who were learning diligently day and night. After Rav Chaim heard this, he asked his esteemed colleague if he ever learned in his life. The man answered that the only thing he ever learned was chumash (the five books of Moses) when he was younger.

Rav Chaim then asked him is it fitting to call a simple tailor a renowned rabbi or tzadik? We all know that would be a disgrace to do so. By Betzalel here in this parsha it says that he was filled with the spirit of G-d and he was able to put together the letters that helped created the heavens and earth.

How could the Torah say that he was filled with the spirit of G-d and was able to do the work of the mishkan? Rav Chaim explained when the Jewish people gave silver and gold to help build the mishkan each person thought that the donations they gave would help build the holy of holies which is the most holiest place in the mishkan!

Rav Chaim continued and said that there was also money donated to help consecrate the mishkan and Beltzalel was able to put the letters together through divine inspiration and build different parts of the mishkan. When someone gave money they wanted it to be used to sanctify the mishkan and bring to new heights the honor of G-d!

A person giving money though understood that his donation would be used for other aspects of the mishkan as well that were not as holy. Therefore Rav Chaim continued the wagon and the fancy clothing of the money collector are also used for the sake of the yeshiva so that it bring about greater glory for G-d.  This means even the food that is used for the Torah students to eat has a tremendous sanctity because it gives them strength to continue to learn Torah.

For this also helps the yeshiva and its students as well. May we all be able to give and help others to the best of our ablity!

Shabbat Shalom