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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, February 5, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4 Mishna 14: Don't think what we do doesn't matter!!

"Rabbi Yochanan ha-Sandlar said: 'Any assembly which is for the sake of heaven (for the promotion of a noble purpose) will be of permanent value, but one which is not for the sake of heaven, will not be of permanent value'". 

The assembly the Mishna here is talking about refers to the learning of Torah and good deeds that a person does. They will be remembered long after this person has left the world because of the positive effect it has.

The purpose of a Jew in this world is to draw close to G-d through the performance of His mitzvos and doing acts of loving-kindness for others. This means that the ideas of Torah and our own actions transcend time.

This is a mind blowing concept because we may think that there nothing more permanent than leaving this world; once you are gone, nothing remains. Just the opposite is true. As the Mishna in Ethics of our Fathers teaches, this world is only a corridor to the world-to-come!

This can have a tremendous impact on our lives because it gives us the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in this world. Our ideas, actions can influence others for good which in fact will be remembered and passed on to subsequent generations.

Whether it is a kind word to a colleague or a general positive countenance and outlook, can effect others in ways which we cannot imagine. When we say in the first paragraph of the Shema "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you are sitting at home and when you go on a journey, when you lie down and when you rise up" we are showing that our actions matter.

We teach the ideas of Torah to our kids, we speak about them and even more importantly they learn by what we do just in everyday interactions! What a tremendous responsibility a parent has to their children.

They see everything that we do and not just by what we say. They even learn from what we don't say and the body language that we give as well! If this is what we have the opportunity to do with our family, all the more so with everyone else around us! Therefore, what we do and what others see of us matters.

If on the other hand our actions are for the purpose of how much honor we can receive or how we can lie and deceive others, our actions will not have any permanent value. This makes sense because why would such a person be remembered if they are not nice to others or have big egos and think that everything is coming to them because of who they are?

The people that have real moral values and help others, these are the heroes whose character traits will remembered long after they are gone. Their influence knows no bounds and we don't even understand the ramifications our actions can have.

There is a story of an American man coming to visit Israel that illustrates this point. He went to the Western wall and he saw a young man praying at the wall. He was so enamored by this person and the way he prayed, that when he got back to the states, he wanted to donate money to a synagogue where that man would feel comfortable praying.

When he gave a substantial sum to the orthodox synagogue, the rabbi asked him why he was donating it there since he was not a member there. He told him this story of the person he had seen at the Western wall and wanted to make a sizable donation to a place this person would feel comfortable.

Imagine at the end of this person's life when he gets upstairs and is told of this American's donation to the synagogue all based on the inspiration he had while he watched him pray at the Western wall! That is the power of our actions even when we think no one is watching or that we don't contemplate on the purpose of what we do could have ramifications on others!