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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, May 1, 2014

Parshas Emor: The Purpose of the Festivals

"Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: 'Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: Hashem's appointed festivals that you are to designate as holy convocations these are My appointed festivals. For six days labor may be done, and the seventh day is a day of complete rest, a holy convocation, you shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath for Hashem in all your dwelling places.'" (Leviticus 23: 1-3). 

Rashi asks what is the connection between Shabbos and the festivals? It is to teach you that if one profanes the holidays it is as if you have profaned shabbos as well and if you keep the festivals, it is as if you have kept shabbos.

Rav Moshe Feinstein z"l explains in Derash Moshe that the essence of shabbos is the belief that G-d created the world and therefore if one does not keep shabbos, it is as if they have denied G-d and His creation of it. The festivals, though teach us that G-d runs the world Himself and sustains it.

This means that G-d has a role in nature and controls it. He redeemed us from Egypt and did miracles through changing nature to take us out. He also gave us the Torah and mitzvos so that we would become great people and reach our full potential.

In essence, Rav Moshe tells us you cannot believe in 1/2 a thing. For example, one cannot believe that G-d created the world and make the mistake and think that their are other spiritual or physical forces that control nature. Once a person has this "split" personality it is as if they don't believe in G-d and His power over the world.

This mistake will lead them not to keep the Torah and mitzvos because their are other forces that control the world. Therefore, when one profanes the holidays, it is as if he profanes shabbos as well. When a person denies G-d's control over nature, they essentially deny the fact that G-d created the world.

|The Rambam writes that this was the mistake of the generation of Enosh. They understood that G-d created the world but was so lofty and surreal that He did not want to have any connection to the lowliness of man and therefore left the world to run and be guided by other forces.

This was considered idol worship because people gave credence to other forces that were outside of G-d. These forces have no power unless G-d wills it or not. The wind and the oceans for example cannot decide they want to create a tsunami and destroy half of Asia unless G-d allows it to happen.

These forces do have power but they are not independent of G-d and what He decides to do with them. Once a person holds that these forces are independent and G-d has role in the everyday life of the world, then they ultimately denies G-d's role in the world and the fact that He created it!

The purpose of the holidays is to remember G-d's role in the world and if that is denied, then the ideal of what shabbos is also gets denied. As we prepare for shabbos, let us remember this idea which will enhance our observance of it!

Shabbat Shalom