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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, June 19, 2014

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 3 Mishna 12: Make the Torah Practical

"He used to say: 'anyone whose deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom shall endure; anyone whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, his wisdom shall not endure'"

The beginning of the Mishna tells us anyone whose deeds exceed his wisdom will endure. Why should this be the case?  When a person does what he is supposed to do in his relationship with G-d, he will acquire wisdom. The actions of a person speak loudly about who the person is. If they continually do good deeds, then they will go in the path and attain wisdom as well.

This will make their learning stronger with greater meaning because they will exemplify what they learn and continue in that path. Learning will be a main priority in their life that will lead to continued good deeds.

On the other hand, when a person is only driven for "knowledge" it will not succeed in the long run. The reason is that the "learning" they are doing is nothing more than mental gymnastics. While they have the desire to know and understand things, even if they enjoy doing it, they don't put what they learn into into practice.

This is dangerous because what essentially happens is that a person can learn  and learn but it will not help perfect his character development. The reason is that when we learn Torah, we are supposed to understand the teachings to the best of our ability and then live them! If we just learn for the sake of learning but the Torah has no effect on us, then what is the learning all about?

Even  if a person would say that there are aspects of Torah that we learn that don't have practical ramifications or the G-d forbid don't make sense to us, nonetheless we get merit for learning it anyways. We have to learn and train ourselves that the Torah is still the word of G-d and as much as we learn, there are things that we won't understand to the fullest or things like the red heifer that are impossible to understand.

At the same time, we believe with perfect faith that everything in the Torah is from G-d and we have to make the best effort to learn it and keep it. This is why when our actions exceed our wisdom it will succeed because the Jewish people when they accepted the Torah they said "we will do and then we will hear." They didn't care what would be written in the Torah, they were willing to keep it at all costs!

They committed themselves to Do before they heard what was written in it! If we don't have that and we claim I will learn everything before I will keep it, it will not endure. That is because our character traits have not been developed properly and the wisdom that we are acquiring has no practical application to our lives!