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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, January 8, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4 Mishna 10: Have Respect for others

"He used to say: 'Do not judge alone, for none may judge alone except One (G-d); do not say (to your co-judges), 'Accept my view," for they (who are in the majority are entitled to say that, but not you."

The first part of the Mishna explains that one should judge alone, even if they are an expert. This may seem strange because after all, if the person is an accepted expert, why should he not be allowed to judge by himself?

The commentaries explain that it is considered a praiseworthy act of piety to gather two other judges. The reason is because even though a person may be an expert, it is still better to get the opinion of others. An expert is also fallible and the opinion of others will sharpen his knowledge as well!

Although one is not allowed to judge by themselves, if 2 litigants decide that they will have their case heard by this judge he is allowed to judge the case. This idea is only an act of great piety but there are circumstances whereby it would be allowed.

The last part of the Mishna explains that the expert cannot say to his co-judges that they should accept his view since they are the majority and the halacha is that in a case that is judged, you go after the majority.The end of this Mishna teaches us an important point.

Even if someone is an expert compared to the other judges that sit with him, he nonetheless has to show humility and respect their opinions even if he doesn't agree with them. He cannot force his opinion on them since they are in fact the majority!

In life there are times where we will have disagreements with others and think that we have the right to try and influence others so that they will come to agree with us. Even if we are an expert in that subject, it does not give us the right to denigrate others if they don't agree with our position.

We sometimes lose sight of the fact that not everyone will share our viewpoint which as many will say "makes the world go around". At the same time, we cannot allow people to spew heretical positions that cause a desecration of G-d's name!

This is a very fine line which we have to be careful of. Sometimes even if our position will be unpopular, we still may have to defend it even if people don't like it. At the same time, we don't proselytize to others; we act by example displaying impeccable character traits.

The Torah is way of pleasantness and all its paths are peace. When we see all the infighting amongst the Jewish people all claiming they are defaming others for the sake of heaven, we see that we have a long way. This was the reason the holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed as well!

May we seek to learn from every person and never "show off" our knowledge and ram it down others throats. That won't bring others closer to Judaism, just the opposite, it will send people further away, despising the priceless heritage that they have!