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About Me

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 26, 2014

Parshas Chukas: Keeping the Laws of the Torah even if the reason doesn't apply today

"And the L-rd spoke to Moshe and Aharon saying, 'This is the ordinance of the Torah which the L-rd has commanded saying 'Speak to the children of Israel that they bring a red heifer without defect , in which there is no blemish , and upon which never came a yoke.'" (Numbers 19:1-2)

The red heifer is the paradigm example of a chok (a mitzvah that we don't understand at all) which we have to keep because it is a direct command from G-d. It is impossible to understand since it makes pure the one that is impure and makes the pure person impure at the same time. Nonetheless, even though it doesn't make sense to us, we still have an obligation to keep it!

In reality though, even though there are plenty of mitzvos that we do understand, the rabbis did not give all the reasons for them. For example, we may understand why a person is not allowed to steal but there may be countless reasons why we shouldn't not just the reason that the Torah have given us.

This is because when the rabbis expounded on what we are allowed or not allowed to do, they did not give all the reasons. This leads to the question that if there is a particular halacha that we must keep but the reason for it does not apply today, do we still have to keep it? There is a difference of opinion on this.

Some rabbinical authorities hold if the reason for a particular halacha does not apply, then we don't have to do it while other rabbinical authorities hold that even if the reason doesn't apply, we still have to keep it because that reason may not be the only reason for that particular law.

How does this apply in our everyday life? If we would look at all of the mitzvos as an ordinance that we didn't understand but rather it is a decree from G-d, we would be less likely to transgress any of the Torah. The reason is that we would keep everything G-d wants us to do without looking for loopholes or rationales as to why we can be lenient or that particular thing does not apply to me.

 We are in G-d's army and have to do what He wants whether we understand fully or not. The Torah is everlasting and we need to uphold its high standards that it has for us. At the same time, we need to take stock of our actions and realize that everything in reality is a decree from G-d! If we looked at Torah in such a way, we would look like different people!

Shabbat Shalom