Blog Archive

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.
View my complete profile


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, March 13, 2014

Parshas Tzav: The Sanctification of the Ashes

"The kohen shall don his fitted linen tunic, and he shall don linen breeches on his flesh; he shall separate the ash of what the fire consumed of the burnt-offering on the altar and place it next to the altar" (Leviticus 6:3)

The Chovas Halevavos Sha'ar Hachinah Chapter 6 explains the essence of the mtizvah of taking out the ashes every day in the Temple. The kohen in all his greatness was obligated by G-d to "lower" himself and take out ashes so that he will not have hubris and think he is so great because of his lofty position. After all, if the kohen has the exalted position of serving in the Temple, why should he have to lower himself and take out the trash?
Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit'a in Ta'am V'Da'as explains that the honor of a person is not dependent on his wealth or wisdom but the true honor depends if the person is willing at all times to serve G-d with great joy and love. There are no alternative motives! We serve G-d because He deserves it and we try and keep His mitzvos to the best of our ability. There are no preconditions.

Rav Sternbuch tells the story of his father when he was ill that someone had told him if he gave money to charity he could make a condition that through this mitzvah G-d should take away his illness. Rav Sternbuch's father replied that you don't make conditions with G-d. He runs the world as He sees fit! No preconditions!

The Rambam in the laws of Meilah (deriving benefit from sanctified objects to the Temple) explains the stringency in which the Torah looks at consecrated items in the Temple that are misused. If one used the name of G-d when consecrating wood or stones or dust they have been sanctified and even if one did this by mistake they still need atonement! 

All the more so a mitzvah that G-d has given us to perform a person is not allowed to scorn it if we do not understand the reason behind it. We should not look at mitzvos through our small eyes and thoughts. The essence and the importance of the mitzvah is because G-d commanded us to do it and that is where the holiness comes from. Therefore burned ash even if you cannot use it for anything if sanctified in the Temple cannot be misused or misappropriated because it was sanctified for the sake of the mitzvah itself!

If we would look at mitzvah observance as a way to get closer to G-d and utilize His world properly, we would be much more steadfast when we  perform them. We are all part of G-d's army and regardless of the circumstances we have to perform the mitzvos to the best of our ability. This is the honor that G-d deserves and this is how we bring His presence back to this world!

Shabbat Shalom