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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 29, 2014

Parshas Naso: The Importance of Continual Learning

"According to the commandment of the L-rd they were numbered by the hand of Moshe, everyone according to his service, and according to his burden; they were numbered as the L-rd commanded Moshe" (Numbers 4:9).

The Rambam learns in Hilchos Kli Mikdash 3:7 that a Levi is not allowed to enter the outer court of the Temple unless they have learned for five years previously. What is the reason for this? The Leviim had different jobs as our Torah portion tells us, why is it significant that they learn for five years?

Rashi tells in two places that the Leviim started working in the Temple either at the age of 25 or 30. Why is there a discrepancy between the two verses? Rashi explains that these five years will show us if someone has dedicated them to learning Torah, whether they will be successful in their learning.

This is an important lesson for us today. After the destruction of European Jewry during World War II, the Jewish people have been rebuilding and strengthening the masses to commit to long term learning after marriage. The reason is that a whole generation of Torah scholars was wiped off the face of the map and it was needed to replenish them.

Another reason is that when one is first married, those early years are used to strengthen the house spiritually. There have been a number of generations of these idealistic women raised on helping out their husbands reach their potential by helping them with taking off the burden of livelihood from them.

These are the years that a person can utilize their undisturbed learning to reach great heights. This is reminiscent of the famous story of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva came home with many students after being away for 12 years. As he approached his house, he overheard his wife say to a friend, 'If my husband would come home now, I would send him away back to the beis midrash (study hall) for another 12 years'.

After hearing this, Rabbi Akiva turned around and went back to the Yeshiva. The commentaries ask how he could not have gone home and at least said hello to his wife and kids, why did he just leave? The answer is that had he stayed a little bit and then left, his Torah learning would have been interrupted because 12 plus another 12 is not the same as 24 straight years.

It is just like one who studies for a test. If they study 50 minutes, take a 10 minute break then another 50 minutes with a 10 minute break, they have not studied a full two hours! This is the idea of why we want our young people dedicating themselves to learning. They all have the ability to show their potential but they have to be given a fair chance at doing so.

If they have the ability to learn uninterrupted, we can gauge their spiritual growth and see what level they could potentially reach. If we pluck them out before their time or break up their learning schedule to have them do other things, we risk the possibility of helping them reach their potential.

This is what Rashi means here. The two different verses allude to this. May we merit to have continuous learning that enables to implement the importance of what we are learning!

Shabbat Shalom