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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, April 3, 2014

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 3 Mishna 2: The Difference between Torah and the laws of the land

"Rabbi Channina the deputy high priest said, 'Pray for the welfare of the government, since were it not for the fear of it men would swallow each other alive'"

What is the purpose of praying for the welfare of the government? In most countries, aren't there more and more scandals of government officials? In reality if there is peace and good will in the government, then there law and order in that country, if not their would be utter chaos.

If we did not have law and order then people would literally swallow each other alive. What happens when things spiral out of control? We have seen blackouts and natural disasters where we were left to the elements and on our own. This has the ability to bring out the best and worst of people. Some people will do whatever they can to help others while others will unfortunately take advantage of the situation.

The leads to a tremendous distinction between the laws of the land and Torah. The laws of the land are there to protect us from each other and make sure no one takes advantage of others. They also keep order, otherwise the most powerful people would be in charge running things without constraints. Laws of the Torah on the other hand, are there to transform a person and help them reach their true spiritual potential.

It is much more than just keeping the order and making sure that people act properly with regards to other's property...At the same time, this is a test for us. Do the actions of a person show that they are doing so because they fear G-d or because of the constraints of civilized society? Does a person keep the mitzvos because they believe it is true or because they are afraid if they don't they will fry in hell forever?

We grapple with difficult issues and try to make sense of them. When we see someone suffer, do they still try and wonder about G-d hashgacha pratis (Divine Providence) and how he runs the world? Are we robots just going through the motions or do we carefully analyze the things we do and try and make ourselves better people?

The purpose of this Mishna is to teach us that we live in a society with people surrounding us and we have to live our lives to the best of our ability. Even if we make mistakes we have to own up to them and continue striving to do the right thing. We have to keep the law but keep the spirit of the law as well.

We many times have to go beyond the law to uphold it holy statutes. This will help with our interaction with others and allow us to grow as individuals.