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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, July 10, 2014

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 3 Mishna 15: I don't want to lose my share in the next world

"Rabbi Elazar of Modin said: 'He that profanes sacred objects , slights the festivals, puts his fellow man to shame in public, breaks the covenant of our father Abraham or misinterprets the Torah - even though he has Torah and good deeds his credit, he has no share in the world to come.'"

The first part of the Mishna tells us that if one is not allowed to profane sacred objects. This means that anything that is consecrated for usage in the Temple is forbidden to misappropriate. The reason that this is so severe a prohibition is because you are using spiritual objects for every day usage.

The purpose of learning Torah is to incorporate its laws into our everyday life. We are constantly trying to improve ourselves by sanctifying the physical world and tapping into G-d's world. When we use spiritual things for something that is not appropriate we profane His name!

The next part of Mishna tells us that one is not allowed to slight the festivals. This cannot mean speaking of the first and last days of a festival that every Jew must sanctify, that would be obvious! The Mishna is referring to the intermediate days of a festival. These days are holy days as well, not like a festival itself but it has to be treated with proper respect!

One is not allowed to just write things down or go on trips! If one must work, one is allowed to but one has to be careful of the things that are not allowed so as to no slight the festival. Since it is still part of the festival, one must have a nice meal, where nicer clothes than we would normally wear for during the week... When one treats it like a regular day and not the importance that it deserves, the festival is disgraced!

The next part of the Mishna explains that one is not allowed to break the covenant of our father Abraham. This means that a parent is obligated to circumcise their son on the eighth day. If for whatever reason the foreskin is not cut off or the person wants to conceal the circumcision they then transgress this!

This is so severe because a person ultimately denies the importance of the mitvah by trying to conceal what they are supposed to take off! This was the covenant given to Abraham by G-d whereby one who does not do this mitzvah properly in essence denies G-d!

The next part of the Mishna explains the severity of shaming a person in public. Shaming a person should never be done, whether in public or private. If a person admonishes someone in public, it is as if they have killed them.

One of the three things a person must die for rather than transgress is idol worship, murder and immorality. An offshoot of murder is embarrassing someone in public. When a person is shamed in public, they first turn white out of fear and then red which is akin to murder.

The last part of the Mishna tells us about the severity of misinterpreting Torah. This means that one is not only not allowed to transgress the laws of the Torah but one is not allowed to be so brazen as to do it in public as if to brag about their actions.

This also means that one is not allowed to misinterpret Torah. If one does not understand a certain thing, better to go to someone learned and find out what the meaning is rather than give a bad interpretation and lead others astray! Sometimes the best answer to give someone is "I don't know!" This shows true humility which is expected from all of us!

In all of these cases one only loses their portion in the world to come if they have not done teshuvah (repentance). If one sincerely does teshuvah, then one need not worry but we must be on guard on the severity of these trangressions!