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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.
Friday, January 16, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4 Mishna 11: Don't Get Caught up in this world

"Rabbi Yonasan said, 'Whoever fulfills the Torah despite poverty shall in the end fulfill it in the midst of wealth; whoever neglects the Torah in the midst of wealth shall in the end neglect it on account of poverty'".

A person is obligated to learn as much Torah as they can. The learning should not be done in a rudimentary way but the ideas should be acted upon and internalized. One is exempt from learning if they are busy trying to earn a living.

This means that earning a living exempts a person from learning Torah and when they are not, there is an obligation for that individual to learn. At the very least, a person has to find time during the day and night to learn which we call being "kovea itim l'Torah".

Even if a person lives in difficult times, they should nonetheless learn Torah to the best of their ability. This is the promise of the Mishna. When a person learns and dedicate themselves to Torah even if they are suffering financially, G-d will repay them!

Not only that, they grow spiritually and gain things that they would not have imagined were they to have more money at their disposal. Many people have said that the greatest learning they accomplished was when they were going through difficult times. Why is this so?

When a person has money and his physical needs taken care of, they pray differently and don't rely on G-d. They will feel satisfied from their actions and seemingly forget G-d is the one pulling the strings.

This will lead to complacency, apathy and disrespect for Torah and mitzvos. This is not always the case, but the more a person has financially, the more he comes to forget about G-d. We would benefit tremendously if we always prayed with a sense of urgency even if everything seems to be going fine.

We live in a very transient world and things can change at the blink of an eye. Unfortunately we don't see things that way but that is the reality of the situation. There can be financial upheaval or even physical ailments that can overcome a person instantaneously without warning.

A person came to visit the Chofetz Chaim in Radin and could not believe the poverty in which he lived. He offered to buy him new furniture to replace the old ones so the Chofetz Chaim could have the semblance of a "real life".

When the Chofetz Chaim heard that he asked his guest where his furniture was. The man replied that he took a few things with him on his trip but he left the rest at home because he was just passing through for a short time. The Chofetz Chaim replied that he was also passing through ie through this world for a short amount of time, so why do I need new furniture? What will be its purpose?

Wealth can lead a person to think that everything they have accomplished is based on the work of their hands. The Mishna comes to tell us that the more satisfied we are here in this world "enjoying:" things, the more we will neglect Torah and pay a severe price for that.

If we would live like the mentality of the Chofetz Chaim and realized that we are only here in this world for a short period time, we would live our lives differently!! Every day we are here is a gift and we have to take advantage of it. If we get caught up in this world, it will cost us later.