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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, May 7, 2015

Parshas Behar: Everything comes from mount Sinai

"And the L-rd spoke to Moshe on mount Sinai saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, 'When you come to the land which I give you then shall the land keep a sabbath to the L-rd. Six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruit; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest to the land, a sabbath for the L-rd". (Leviticus 25:1-3).

The parsha begins with the command to keep the sabbatical year, Shemittah by leaving the land fallow for one year, not pruning the field or taking in its fruit. Shemittah is observed only in the land of Israel and with great sacrifice as well.

Farmers who earn their livelihood through their produce sacrifice a great deal by observing Shemittah. There is a promise the Torah makes that even if you are observing Shemittah in the seventh year, you will have enough food to eat by having a bumper crop in the six year that will provide for the seventh as well.

It is interesting to note that those who deny authorship of the Torah by G-d, i.e. it was written by a committee of men or that some were divinely inspired or even that they all ate the same hallucinogenic mushroom in the desert to explain the exodus from Egypt...will have a hard time explaining the verses that describe Shemittah. The reason is that if the Jewish people were not allowed to work the land in Israel on the seventh year and did not have great crops the year before, this could never have been transmitted.

Not only that but if that didn't happen in their own generation, then the Torah would have looked like a fraud which the people would have no interest in keeping! If that is true, then as Rashi brings in the first verse that just as G-d gave the laws of Shemittah and all its details on mount Sinai, so too He gave us all the laws of the Torah on mount Sinai!

We sometimes lose sight of this idea and certainly the detractors of Torah coming from G-d will attest that what proof is there that any of this happened? Maybe it was all a big game of telephone and that is how we our Jewish laws and customs!

There are various proofs, historically and socialogically that can prove a lot of things that the Torah tells us but it is by no means 100%. The reason could be because G-d still wants us to have free will and keep His Torah and mitzvos because we believe it is the right thing to do.

He therefore made it that we don't have all the proof that the Torah is true but we have enough evidence to make a strong case for it. The point we have to remember is that we have a rich heritage that has been passed down to us generation to generation and the Jewish people have only survived through Torah and the adherence to mitzvos.

As we see from the so called "Jewish movements" within Judaism, that the more you are attached to His laws and will, the more likely you will have the ability to pass it down to the next generation. With rampant intermarriage (in some places up to 85%) and assimilation, Judaism doesn't stand a chance to survive unless we keep to it's laws.

We say when we return the Torah to the ark, during the week, on shabbos and festivals that the Torah is a tree of life to those that grab it. This means that if I grab the Torah, it will have a positive influence on me which tells me it is not how much I put in to understand the Torah but it is how much of the Torah I put into myself!

If we would live our lives with this ideal, that everything comes from G-d and He runs the show (even if we don't understand why He does what He does) nonetheless our observance would be different, our lives would be transformed and we would all be doing G-d's will which will bring moshiach speedily in our days.

Shabbat Shalom