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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

Parshas Korach: Jealousy can kill

"Korach, son of Yitzhar, son of Kohas, son of Lvi, separated himself with Dathan adn Aviram, sons of Eliav and On son of Peles, the offspring of Reuven" (Numbers 16:1)

The commentaries are bothered by the fact that Korach was a great individual, comes from the offspring of Reuven, saw all the miracles in Egypt and crossing the sea, how could he have had the audacity to come out against Moshe and Aharon? After all, didn't Moshe and Aharon have directive straight from G-d Himself? Did he really think they were acting on their own and Moshe showed favoritism to his brother when he had a "legitimate" right as well?

The issue here is like the Mishna in Ethics of our fathers that teaches us that honor and jealously can take us out of this world. This can be taken literally that it could kill you but it could also mean that it could take them out of the next world as well. When a person is jealous of someone else, they could have legitimate reasons for doing so. At the same time, it is not a good character trait to have!

As great as Korach was, he made a fundamental mistake. After witnessing the miracles and coming out of Egypt, he did not take the lessons from there and place them in his heart. This means that he should have realized that Moshe and Aharon were only doing what G-d told them to do and had no ulterior motives! He failed in understanding a very important point.

Ultimately a person keeps Torah and mitzvos because they believe that G-d gave the Torah to Moshe at Mount Sinai and made all the laws binding for the Jewish people throughout the generations. There are mitzvos that we understand better, that make more sense and there are mitzvos that we don't really comprehend at all. Even though we keep them, it doesn't invalidate us and make us look like were are doing things because of a leap of faith.

Even the mitzvos that we do understand better we have to keep in mind that those reasons may not be the only ones as to why we keep it. Also, we have to look at them as if they are mitzvos we don't really understand as well. The reason is because if we keep all the laws of Torah just because G-d said so not necessarily because we understood them 100%, our mitzvah observance would look different!

This is the mistake Korach made. He though he "understood" what G-d wanted from him and instead decided that Moshe was taking too much power and giving it to his close family! Had he just realized that G-d was the one telling him what to do and say to the Jewish people, he would have seen that he was mistaken.

Instead he took his warped idea and convinced many righteous people that he was right and caused a tremendous tragedy to the Jewish people. From here we see what the power of jealousy is and how its venom can spread!

Shabbat Shalom