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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, March 19, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4 Mishna 20: Strive for Greatness, not Mediocrity

"Rabbi Mattithyah ben Heresh said: Meet every man with a friendly greeting; be the tail among the lions rather than the head among foxes"

The first part of the Mishna tells us that we should meet every man with a friendly greeting. This means that everyone we see and come in contact with us should be greeted with a happy face. Isn't this obvious, what is the Mishna trying to teach us here?

The only thing that we take to the next world are our actions and what we did in this world. The commentaries tell us that if we are loved by and looked up to by others, then we have accomplished a great deal in this world which is a recipe for success.

We sometimes forget that no matter what struggles or difficulties we have, others don't have suffer from our sour faces. We can overcome a lot just by attitude and how we present ourselves. If we are nice to others, then they will be nice to us and give us a good name in this world.

The next part of the Mishna teaches us the importance of growth and reaching potential. If we attach ourselves to great people, then we constantly learn from them and raise ourselves  to a higher standard.

If on the other hand, we rest on our laurels and associate with people that don't have the same goals or desires, then we stagnate our spiritual growth. This doesn't mean if a person has the ability to teach others who are not on their level, that they should necessarily worry that this will stunt their spiritual growth.

If they are bringing others closer to Torah, then they themselves will be growing as well as the Talmud tells us that a teacher learns more from his students. It doesn't mean he has to reach the level of his students but if he learns from great people, he will then be better able to influence those less learned.

We many times have an ego issue where we would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. If we are the big fish so-to-speak, we won't have to work as hard and can give over things without that much difficulty.

If on the other hand we have others that push us to our limit and demand a higher standard for ourselves, better to be that small fish where you can grow and learn from these great people. The ability to do this shows a tremendous amount of humility knowing that they are much less learned than their counterparts but at the same time the knowledge and spiritual growth that they are able to envelop helps them influence better those that know less than them.

This is an important idea in education and in life and in business. If we can learn from others that have better skills than us and know things better, aren't we going to gain by having a connection to them? Won't they give us tools that will allow us to grow and help others as well?

If we think big, we may not end up big but we won't be small; if we think small, we end up small. This means that we have to have dreams and visions and want to become the best people we can be. We can expedite this by talking and learning from people that have insight and greater knowledge that can help us in our endeavors.

If we look beyond ourselves and our own egos, we have much to gain and higher levels to go. Otherwise we could be influenced by others who stagnate our growth which will inhibit us from reaching our potential!