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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 17, 2014

Parshas Matos: Uprooting Bad Thoughts

"But if her father disallow her in the day that he hears; not any of her vows or of her bonds with which she has bound herself , shall stand, and the L-rd shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her." (Numbers 30:6)

Rashi explains that the case here is when a woman made a vow to be a Nazerite and her husband heard it and he nullified it but she did not know and drank wine or became impure by coming in contact with a dead body so she needs forgiveness for what she has done.

The Talmud in Kidushin 80a tells us that when Rabbi Akiva got to this verse he cried and he said someone who had intention to eat pig and ended up eating kosher meat the Torah says he needs atonement and one that wanted to eat pig meat and ended up eating pig meat all the more so! Rav Moshe Sternbuch Sh'lita in Ta'am V'Da'as asks what the novelty in Rabbi Akiva's statement when he came to this verse that the person who had intention to eat pig meat and actually ate it needs atonement? Isn't that obvious?

Rav Sternbuch explains that every transgression a person does is not just forbidden and makes a blemish on our soul but the essence of our thoughts to want to transgress is what we need to uproot and receive atonement for! Here if the person had intention to eat something not kosher and the meat they ate is kosher requires us to get atonement for the bad thoughts we had and to uproot them.

Rabbi Akiva here learned that when a person transgresses on purpose, one needs atonement for the thoughts as well that caused this action. Therefore it is not enough for one to not want to do the transgression in the future but one must do whatever they can to break that desire.

This is easier said than done. Feeling bad about the transgression is a step in the right direction. How do we uproot the desire and temptation? This comes with hard work. The more books we learn on proper ethics we should be trying to uphold and the more Torah we learn should help but the evil inclination does not rest for one second, not even when one sleeps!

We need to think of ways to overcome our temptations and continue on the path to spiritually perfect ourselves. We need mentors and guides to help us so we can continue on that path and we need to pray that G-d will help us in all our endeavors.

The Talmud tells us that really we have no hope against the evil inclination but the reality is that G-d does help us in so many ways that we cannot even begin to fathom. In the three weeks which we find ourselves now we are living in difficult times as we mourn the Temple's destruction.

May we strengthen ourselves to live our lives as G-d wants us to.

Shabbat Shalom