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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 17, 2014

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 3 Mishna 16: Respect others and Smile

"Rabbi Yishmael said, 'Be submissive to a superior and kindly to the young; and receive all men cheerfully.'"

The first part of the Mishna tells us that we should be submissive to a superior. That means simply that we should show respect to our bosses and those greater than us in learning. The latter is easier to understand because we have to show respect to Torah scholars for the Torah they know and the knowledge that they can give to others.

Our bosses may be a different story entirely. Since they have higher authority than us with seniority or whatever capacity, we have an obligation to try and help them and show respect as much as possible. This may be obvious in regards to keeping one's job but this is more difficult when we think that we are just as good or if not more important than the people in charge.

This is where we run into the problem of not letting our own ego's get in the way. Being submissive to anyone is never easy but the reality is if we would learn how leave our "greatness" to the side, we would gain tremendously!

The next part of the Mishna explains the importance of being kind to the young. This may seem obvious but someone with more life experience or who is older very rarely will want to be nice to those younger than themselves. The reason is because "they believe" that the younger ones should serve them so they have the right to rule over them.

The commentaries tell us that this is not a good thing and will cause the youth to rebel. When they are not treated properly, they will disobey and have no respect for the older generation. Unfortunately this is very common today where we see how kids lack the proper respect for adults.

As the generations pass, this is more prevalent due to the fact that the young think the older generation is out of touch with reality and soon enough they will be moving on to the next world so their usage in this world is minimal. This is a big mistake as Judaism looks at the older generation as the continuation of the great chain that connects us to Mount Sinai.

The last part of the Mishna tells us that we should accept each person cheerfully. Why is this here at the end of the Mishna and what is its connection to what was said previously? If we show respect to our bosses and those older than us and treat the youth properly, then it would seem that we can do this by receiving each person in a positive way.

This means we look at each person an entity in and of themselves so that when we show them a smile and give them a good word, whether they be older or younger will have a positive influence on all. Even if someone is in a bad mood for whatever reason, did the person you see deserve to be looked at with a sour face?

We have many trials and tribulations on a regular basis, so this is easier said than done. If we keep in mind we are showing ourselves to others instead of selfishly thinking about ourselves all the time, this world would look a whole lot different!