Blog Archive

About Me

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.
View my complete profile


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, April 16, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4 Mishna 22:The Awesomeness of the World to Come

"He used to say: Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than the entire life of the world to come; and better one hour of spiritual bliss in the world to come than the entire life of this world"

In order to understand what the Mishna is telling us we have to first understand the purpose of a person in this world. Man is an intricate being that has a physical body and a spiritual soul. Onkelos (the Aramaic commentary on the Torah) explains when G-d breathes in the spirit of life to a person, he gives them the ability to discern, reason and make decisions based on their intellect.

There is an ongoing struggle Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato explains in Derech Hashem (The Way of G-d) between the body and soul throughout a person's life. The body wants the person to enjoy and have great benefit from things in this world whereas the soul wants to tap into spirituality and do G-d's will.

When the body succeeds it debases itself as well as the soul; when the soul succeeds, the body and soul are both elevated. G-d in essence puts us in this world with free will to make decisions and do things; some will be seen as good in His eyes, some not.

At the end of a person's life, the soul will come before the heavenly court and G-d will summon all the angels that were created from a person's actions. These angels will give testimony to what the person did in this world. G-d will then judge that soul for the good it did and past imperfections and give it it's proper place in the next world, if the soul is deserving.

With that brief introduction we can now try and make sense of this Mishna. Although we will get rewarded for our actions in the next world, the Mishna here says that it better to have one hour of repentance and good deeds than all the spiritual bliss of the next world. What exactly does this mean? After all, if spiritual bliss and basking in G-d's glory is what we are striving for in eternity, then why is repentance and good deeds in this world seemingly better than that?

This world is a world of falsehood and temptations can steer a person off course for what their true purpose is in this world. At the same time, if we do what we are supposed to do in G-d's eyes even if that means we repent for past misdeeds, that is better than anything in the next world. The reason is because we have broken the barrier of physicality by elevating ourselves through the performance of mitzvos.

This has made us better people and helped us in our quest for spiritual perfection. This is G-d's eyes is seen as even more important than all of the next world. A human being working on themselves constantly, not giving up when they make mistakes, trying to strive for loftier goals is an incredible thing!

Although we may fail, we continue to develop our connection to Him through the performing of mitzvos and tuning into His world. Make no mistake though, the next world is the ultimate of what we are striving for, to receive the reward for our actions here in this world.  We can't imagine what this is but at the same time the commentaries tell us what an unbelievable experience it will be which will surpass any enjoyment of this world.

Didn't the Mishna though say that mitzvos and repentance in this world is better than the world to come? Even if we cannot fathom the greatness of what the world to come is if we merit it, nonetheless taking the physical of this world and sanctifying it and trying to make ourselves better people is even greater than that!

No one knows what their true potential is but we only have a short time in this world. We need to take advantage of that by polishing the diamonds (our souls) and when the time comes, to give it back to our Creator as He has given it to us!!!