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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 31, 2014

Parshas Devarim: Know how to give rebuke

"These are the words which Moshe spoke to all Yisrael on the other side of the Jordan river in the wilderness over against Suf, between Paran, and Tofel and Lavan, and Hazertot and Di-zahav" (Deuteronomy 1:1)

Rashi explains that Moshe reminds the Jewish people of their sins through a hint and not directly because of the honor of the Jewish people. Rav Moshe Feinstein z"l asks in Derash Moshe  that there are also verses that specifically mention their sins like by the spies and in parshas Ekev the sin of the golden calf so why here are the sins only mentioned through a hint while other places they are spelled out clearly?

Rav Moshe explains those sins and punishment that are spoken about in great detail is because the Jewish people have to be reminded of the severity of that particular transgression. This, though was only for the previous generation but by the the present generation that did not do those particular transgressions, there is no need for them to be rebuked for what was done previously.

Therefore, they are mentioned only through a hint since the present generation also needs to be rebuked for the transgressions of the previous generation. The reason for this is because each person has to know that if they see someone else sins, they should not say that this person made a mistake and it could never happen to me because I know that this particular thing is forbidden in the Torah and I would never do it!

This person also has what to fear that he could fall in the same trap as his friend and also transgress unless he uproots those negative character traits that constantly prey upon him! A person should not rely on their knowledge or laurels that they could never find themselves in such a situation but they should increase their Torah study and mussar learning to constantly fight against their desires and temptations.

As long as we are not working and striving for this goal, then we are puppets in the hands of our evil inclination. Another thing that we learn out from here is that if we have the ability to rebuke someone, we should do so through a hint and not with harsh words.

We should also never remind someone of what they have done wrong in the past. This will not help them to correct their ways and change. Giving rebuke is something that has been lost in this generation as we do not know how to do it properly. We need to embrace people with an overflowing amount of love.

There was a person in the yeshiva of Radin who smoked on shabbos and was about to leave. The saintly Chofetz Chaim met with him, grabbed his hand and with burning tears just said the word shabbos. This made such an impression on the boy that because of how the Chofetz Chaim approached him, he did not profane shabbos again.

Although we may not be on the level of the Chofetz Chaim, we can still try and help others with positive reinforcement instead of trying to "help" them with harsh words and rebuke.

Shabbat Shalom