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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.
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Followers

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, May 14, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4: Mishna 26: The Monkey Syndrome

"Rabbi Yosi ben Yehuda of Kfar ha'Bavli said: 'He who learns from the young, to what is he like? To one who eats unripe grapes or drinks (new) wine from his vat. He who learns from the old, to what is he like? To one who eats ripe grapes, or drinks old wine'".

The Mishna explains that is better to learn from someone that is old rather than someone who is young. This may fly in the face of conventional wisdom whereby older people ideas and actions are pushed aside in the workplace and in general. The reason is that many think that the older generation has nothing to offer society once they are a certain age and it is time for the younger generation to take flight!

The Torah teaches us just the opposite! If a person wants to grow in wisdom then they should learn from the older generation and not from the young. The older a person is, the more experience and knowledge they have. These are the people that we want to get advice from and have mentor us.

If we seek out the advice of the young who are still developing, we won't get the advice that we need and we will not succeed at what we hope to accomplish. They may have certain knowledge but they don't have the life experience or wisdom that will help.

This is why young people need a rabbi or mentor that can help them develop and reach their potential. It is crucial to have someone with that knowledge and life experience to gain from their experiences which will ultimately help them in their endeavors.

There is a famous story with Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky that helps illustrate this point. He was once on a plane traveling and the person next to him could not understand how he got his grandchildren to wait on him hand and foot, always asking if there was anything he needed to make him more comfortable.

The man incredulously asked Rabbi Kamenetzky how he was able to get his grandchildren to treat him with such respect and honor. "After all", he continued, "the only time I see or hear from my grandchildren is when they want money!"

Rabbi Kamenetzky answered that the difference was in the perspective of how people look at their elders. "In the Torah world", he continued, the elders are looked at as a link in a chain that goes back to the giving of the Torah at mount Sinai and therefore older people are that link to the previous generation which is closer to getting to the giving of the Torah".

"You on the other hand, the further back you go in history, the closer you are to resembling a monkey and therefore they treat you a like a monkey!" This story tells us that society values youth more than they do older people when in reality it is the older generation we should be looking up to and gaining from their valuable knowledge.

We often live in what looks like an upside down world! That may be true but the values of the Torah are timeless and speak to all generations; we just have to learn to internalize the message and live according to its ideals.

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