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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 12, 2014

Parshas Shelach: How do we act when we witness a miracle

"Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, 'Send forth men if you please and let them spy out the land of Canaan that I give to the children of Israel; one man each from his father's tribe, shall you send, everyone a leader among them." (Numbers 13:1-2)

The story of the spies is both enigmatic and perplexing. Here, the greatest generation known to man, who saw G-d face to face at Mount Sinai and received the Torah, witnessed the plagues in Egypt and the miracles at the sea, how could these great men not have thought that G-d could help them overcome the nations that lived in the land of Israel?

One possible way of explanation is that when one sees or learns something new, they don't automatically make it part of their psyche and envelop its message. Even if one witnessed a miracle in their lives, how does it not have the effect it is supposed to have? How many times have we been saved from certain situations or overcome different things whereby our lives have not been transformed because of it?

The spies understood and certainly remembered everything that G-d had done for the Jewish people. It would be inconceivable that G-d would tell them to go to this great land only to have them swallowed up by inhabitants. Rather they thought that maybe they wouldn't deserve to be helped in such a way. After all, now that they have received the Torah and greater all around responsibility in the world, they could have thought that they would be guilty of transgression and that divine protection would no longer be there.

At some level, they were lacking emunah (belief in G-d). They lived in the desert and were supported by G-d the entire way. G-d wanted them to live at an extremely high level spiritually, always depending upon Him and making it part of their reality!

The problem is that it is hard to stay at that level. It is difficult not to judge one's self harshly for failure and hope G-d will overlook this as well. They wanted to live at a level they felt comfortable with, not where they felt was beyond them.

At the same time. even if you feel you are not worthy for divine mercy, it does not give one the right to speak badly against the land of Israel. This is why the story of the spies continues from the sin of Miriam speaking badly against Moshe. The spies should have realized from that story the commentators tell us and overcome their lack in emunah and not speak badly against the land.

We learn from here that even the greatest people, witnessing the greatest miracles can be lulled to sleep so to speak if they don't actualize what they saw. If Korach would have understand this, he would not have come out against Moshe and Aharon. Their is no favoritism in Judaism and everything Moshe and Aharon did was because they were commanded by G-d, not for any other purpose.

If we would look at our mitzvah observance in that way and see everything is divine decree, we would be less able to transgress. The reason is because whether I understand the reason or think I understand why some of the mitzvos are given, we have to keep them because G-d decreed it.

The lesson of the spies shows us how much we have to internalize the messages of the Torah and live by them and actualize our true potential!

Shabbat Shalom