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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 26, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4 Mishna 17: Enjoy Learning Torah!!

"Rabbi Shimon said: 'there are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood , and the crown of royalty, but the crown of a good name excels them all"

The beginning of the Mishna explains the three crowns of Torah, priesthood and royalty. The commentators tell us that of those three the crown of Torah is more important. Although the crown of priesthood is given to Aharon and his children and the crown of kingship is given to the house of David, torah surpasses them both.

The reason is because the Torah is given as an inheritance to the community of Yaakov and anyone that wants to merit in it can come and learn! The priesthood and kingship are only given to the house of Aharon and David; ie you are not a kohen or levi or come from the house of David then you cannot do what a kohen or levi does.

Torah though is for every Jew, the most learned and the one who doesn't  know very much. In either case, the Jew has the opportunity to learn and grow and have a share in it as well. The question is if we take the opportunity to do so!

One of the questions that will be asked of us after we die will be did you learn Torah? Everyone will have to answer according to what they have done here in this world in regards to Torah study. The important thing to remember is that we all the opportunity to learn as much as we can. We have to utilize our time here and focus on that!

The last part of the Mishna explains that the crown of a good name is better than the previous three mentioned. Rabbenu Yona explains that having a good name is really dependent on the crown of Torah because how could it be that a person will have a good name if they did not occupy themselves learning Torah and keeping mitzvos?

Torah leads a person to action. The more good that we do the more we will continue to do. This does not mean that we will not have our failures as well but if we don't start and continue to grow then there will be no chance of acquiring a good name!

A person can learn, sadly and not internalize the messages properly and still be disgusting in G-d's eyes. The reason is that  to them Torah study is like mental gymnastics; it gives our minds a boost but sadly does not effect our lives.

Judaism disagrees strongly with compartmentalizing ideas; i.e. that one can learn ethics and good ideas and still be unethical. We believe that even though we don't always live up to its high standards we still have to continue the path.

The yetzer harah (evil inclination) will tell us how hard it is to keep the mitzvos and how we don't concentrate on what we do and do things by rote...These are ways to weaken a person's resolve so that they will just want to give up everything that they do!

A person has to have the resolve to continue even if it is difficult and there are failures along the way. If we worry about what we did in the past then we will have no future. The purpose of the mitzvos is to help us attach to the One who created us and develop a connection to Him!

At the same time we have to realize our limitations. We need to learn and continue to grow with what we study, internalize the important messages and make sure that we don't get too depressed when we realize that we don't always live up to its high standards!