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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 3, 2014

Parshas Balak: Prophecy is not enough to change us

"So he sent messengers to Bilaam the son of Be'or to Petor, which is by the river, to the land of the children of his people to call him saying, 'Behold there is a people come out from Egypt, behold they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me.'" (Numbers 19:5)

Bilaam is an complex and interesting character. On the one hand, he a prophet of the nations whom G-d speaks to and on the other hand, he is corrupt and goes to great lengths to curse the Jewish people. How are we able to reconcile this?

One thing we see from here is that even a direct communication from G-d does not guarantee that a person will act according to His will! Even though Bilaam at a certain level had this ability to have G-d communicate with him, nonetheless it seems the prophecy he had did not help his character development.

The nations complained that if they only had a prophet of their own, how they would be loved by G-d as well. They were given the prophet Bilaam but they could still say, we would have become even better but the prophet you gave us couldn't help us and raise us to a higher level like Moshe Rabbenu!

The answer that we would give the nations is that prophecy, although a tremendous level to reach, does not change a person. Just the opposite! Since the person had flawed character traits, the ability to reach prophecy did not help him!

This is difficult to comprehend. Could it really be a direct communication from G-d doesn't change a person? We see from what happened to Korach that even witnessing the miracles of Egyp and the crossing of the sea were not enough to stop him jealous rant against Moshe and Aharon!

This shows us that even seeing the greatest miracles and reaching high spiritual levels, if one does not work on them and harness this, they go lost. Bilaam had the ability to help his nation and influence them to do good.

G-d hear wanted to show that a person could even reach a level of prophecy which would not effect the corruptness of his soul. The lesson to be learned here is that no matter what spiritual level we are holding by, we need to continue to learn and grow. It is not enough to rest on one's laurels!

We have to learn musar (ethics) every day to continually work on those flaws that we have. We can't think we have learned everything or know everything or even to say that although most Jews know nothing about their heritage, what I do is enough and I can slack off here or there.

Everyone has unlimited potential and we need to try and maximize it in this world to the best of our ability.

Shabbat Shalom!