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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, July 31, 2014

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 3 Mishna 18: Torah is our Precious Gift, let's not waste it

"He used to say: 'Beloved is man for he was created in the image of G-d; it is by special divine love that he is informed that he was created in the image of G-d, as it is said: "For G-d made man in his own image." Beloved are Israel, for they were called the children of G-d; it is by special divine love that they are informed that they were called the children of G-d, as it is said: "You are the children of the L-rd your G-d." Beloved are Israel, for to them was given a previous instrument [the Torah]; it is by special divine love that they are informed that to them was given the precious instrument through which the world was created, as it is said: "For I give you good doctrine; forsake not my Torah.'"

Why is it so special that G-d informs us that we were created in His image? If we weren't informed of this, would it be any less important and what does it mean that we were created in His image in the first place?

The Torah tells us that when man is created, G-d gave him life by putting in a soul in his body. This soul is part of G-d, so-to-speak which gives mankind the ability to make decisions, reason and reach their spiritual capability. At the same time. G-d puts man in a physical universe with desires and temptations that hinder man in this quest.

It is for this purpose we are created, to use the physical world as a means to spiritual perfection. The Jewish people don't look at the world as a terrible place where we are condemned forever but rather as a place that is full of challenges helping us reach our potential.

Each person has their own challenges and trials and are given a specific purpose only they can reach. They are supposed to navigate this world and be successful by tuning into what the Torah wants from them. This is what the second part of the Mishna means here.

G-d gave us a tremendous gift and heritage to pass down to the future generations. It is this instrument that guides us in everything that we do. Even though the physical world is a tough place to navigate, the Torah helps give us direction.

G-d created the evil inclination but at the same time he gave us the Torah to learn and practice as its antidote. While we are praised for making the right choices, we are also punished for the wrong ones we make. This is the power of free will.

When we use this world for our betterment, we uplift it and ourselves as well. When we give into our physical desires, we debase ourselves and the world too! We are created against our will and we die against our will, but we still have to live the most meaningful and productive lives we can.

This is why Torah is so precious. It helps us in so many ways, giving us the ability to be guided while living in treacherous conditions. These situations are what makes us who we are and who we can be!