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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, December 18, 2014

Parshas Miketz: Taking Revenge is Forbidden

"Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them, but he acted like a stranger toward them and spoke with them harshly. He asked the, 'From where do you come?' And they said, 'From the land of Canaan to buy food'". (Genesis 42:7)

The whole episode between the brothers and Joseph is hard to understand. Joseph was greater than them in knowledge, the prodigy that Yaakov loved and taught. At the same time, after all his trials and tribulations being sent to Egypt and then to prison and then rising to the second-in-command next to Pharaoh, do we really believe that this was his character trait to be mean to them?

The brothers hated him because they thought his dreams were showing that he would have dominion and rule over them. Joseph was obligated to tell the brothers these dreams because he received prophecy and when a person has it, they have an obligation to give it over to others, even to the extent that it could have endangered his life.The brothers did not take too kindly to what he said and thereby wanted him killed.

He was instead sold into slavery and suffered tremendously for it. When he sees the brothers, though he seemingly changes his tune and treats them poorly and disrespects them. How could he have done this, he is not allowed to take revenge as the Torah tells us later!

We could answer that since the Torah wasn't given yet, they weren't obligated to keep it so even if he did take revenge it would have been ok. On the other hand, we know that the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children kept the entire Torah before it was given. How can we reconcile this?

Joseph wasn't taking revenge against his brothers. As we will see later, he tells them not worry about what they did to him because it was all G-d's will that he should go to Egypt and save them! This is how the Divine providence worked and everything worked out in the end.

The purpose of his actions was to purge any sin whatsoever from his brothers by making them admit their transgression on their level for selling him. Once he hears their remorse and the willingness to bring Benjamin to him, he finally forgives them and tells them that he is Joseph.

Although the brothers acted in a proper way (at least they thought so) they still did not show the compassion for him as they should. Only after they realize what is happening to them in Egypt do they see that G-d has orchestrated everything and is punishing them for what they have done.

After the final admission and having sincere regret for their actions does Joseph reveal himself. This teaches us a great lesson of self-control. Even if someone has wronged us, we are not allowed to take revenge against them.

This does not mean I have to be best friends with them or even have anything to do with them. I am forbidden though to take revenge against them. This is certainly not an easy thing to do as we may enjoy seeing our enemies suffer but G-d wants us to reach an even higher level, and that is if anyone has wronged us, we are not allowed to take revenge against them!

Shabbat Shalom