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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, December 4, 2014

Parshas Vayishlach: We only Bow to G-d!

"Then he himself went on ahead of them and bowed earthward seven time suntil he reached his brother" (Genesis 33:3).

How could Yaakov have bowed down to his brother and not transgressed the prohibition of bowing down to others? Isn't that idol worship? The Zohar answers that when he bowed down, his only intention was to go G-d and not worshiping his brother, G-d forbid. The verse says explicitly that he bowed to the ground and not to Esav!

Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit'a in Ta'am V'Da'as explains that is a timely message for all generations! Even though sometimes we may have to ingratiate ourselves to Esav, we have to remember that this is because of the decree of our exile that we have to do this.

The Jewish people are the chosen people and we cannot forget the importance that we have to be a light unto the nations. At the same time, we have to get along with our non-Jewish neighbors and do things we may not like to so that they find favor in our eyes. Throughout the generations, we have sadly not learned this properly.

Many have not only ingratiated themselves to the non-Jews but have embraced them and their customs! They claim that one of the main reasons that the nations give us a hard time and persecute us is because we are not more like them. Why should we be separate, have our different laws about kashrus, shabbos, the holidays...which make us different?

If we were more like them, assimilated into their culture and married their children, they would have proper respect for us! Isn't this what the Greeks wanted us to do? Be like them, enter their gymnasiums, go to their universities, and do everything that they did?

The result has been an utter disaster! Intermarriage rates have skyrocketed to over 60% and there are 13 million Jews out there that know nothing about their precious heritage! When we become like the nations and think that is the only to find grace with them so there is peace, we are shortchanging and robbing ourselves of our priceless heritage!

It is forbidden for us to antagonize the nations but at the same time, the Jewish people have to remain separate from them and keep our unique status. That means not be ashamed to keep the mitzvos and learn Torah to the best of our ability, not just be a Jew inside his house.

Yaakov here teaches us that although it may be true that we have flatter and charm the nations, it may because we have no choice because of this long exile. We have to remember though we have no one else to rely on except the one Above! The nations will never come to our rescue as history has borne out.

The Torah is what separates us and makes the people that we are. Our uniqueness is the driving force to unity which allows us to pass our priceless heritage to the future generations!

Shabbat Shalom