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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

Parshas Metzorah: Know how to Speak!

"And G-d spoke to Moshe saying, 'This shall be the law of the one struck with tzora'as in the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest" (Leviticus 14: 1-2)

There is a Midrash that tells us of a peddler that goes to a certain city and asks the people 'Who wants life?' He is brought a sefer tehillim (book of Psalms) and he points out that it says 'Who wants life? Guard your tongue from speaking evil and go away from evil and do good'.  Rav Yanai said that all his life he read this verse and I didn't recognize the depth of it until this peddler demonstrated the importance of who wants life!

This is hard to understand. How could Rav Yanai not have understood the importance of this verse and why all of a sudden did a bell ring in his head about it because of this peddler?

Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit'a in Ta'am V'Da'as explains that Rav Yanai knew that to guard one's life from tragedy and lengthening one's days on this earth one needs to guard themselves about speaking badly against others. He thought though the way to do this would be to dwell alone far from others just like the metzora who lives alone outside the camp.

This is what the peddler was trying to teach us. He was giving us advice as to how not to fall in the trap of speaking badly against others and staying away from bad things in general and do good for others. The way to go about this is to learn Torah and internalize its messages and desire peace.

We should also go out of our way for others and have interaction and contact with others. This will allow ourselves to want to do for others and always look at people in a favorable light. This is easier said than done especially if others have wronged us or made us feel bad.

Even in such a scenario we are not allowed to speak badly against for no purpose or even if we have a reason to, we must be careful not to do so. The laws of lashon hara (speaking badly against others) are very complex.

When the Chofetz Chaim explained these halachos, he did not tell us that we are not allowed to speak. He taught us how we are allowed to speak. We often speak of others in a disparagingly way often justifying why. Even if we have the noblest reasons for doing so, it is forbidden.

We are very careful what we eat making sure that it has the best hechser. How come we are not so careful as to what comes out of our mouths? The easy way out would be never to speak to people and live alone. The Torah is telling us just the opposite! We not only have to have interaction with others but we need to guard ourselves in how we speak to them as well!

The more we want to do for others and look at them in a positive light, the easier it will be for us to guard ourselves against lashon hara!

Shabbat Shalom