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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, June 4, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 4 Mishna 29: Living for G-d

"He used to say, 'Those who are born are destined to die; those who are dead are destined to be brought to life again; and the living are destined to be judged. (It is for your) to know, proclaim and be sure that he is G-d. He is the Maker, He the Creator, He the Discerner, He the Judge, He the Witness, He the Complainant; it is He who will judge. Blessed be He in whose presence there is no wrongdoing nor nor forgetting, nor partiality, nor taking of bribes. Know that all is according to reckoning, and let not your imagination persuade you that the grave is a place of refuge for you. Perforce you were formed and perforce you were born; perforce you live, perforce you shall die, and perforce you shall have to give a strict account before the supreme King of kings, the Holy One blessed be He'".

What a powerful Mishna! The first thing we have to know is that we are born and destined to die. The end of the Mishna tells us that we come into this world against our will and we will leave the world against our will but we still have to be part of this world and give an accounting of what we did here before G-d. Ethics of our Fathers teaches us tools for living; isn't this obvious, why does it need to be stated?

Every person knows that at some point in their lives they will die but we don't know when or how. We go through this world filled with its ups and downs but we often don't think of the bigger picture. As king David says in Psalms, we are here for 70 years, if we have strength we could be here for 80 years, not such a long time as the days, weeks and years seem to fly by!

One idea we can gain from this is not to take life for granted! Even though there are hardships and difficulties, we are here in this world to work on our character traits and reach our unlimited potential! G-d has to "cajole" the soul to come to this world as it is very happy where it is in the spiritual world.

At the same time, it is given a purpose coming here and we have to make the best of what we are given here. Some have it easier, some more difficult but at the end of the day we are placed here because G-d wants us here for whatever reason.

This is the crux of the middle part of the Mishna which speaks about G-d as the ultimate Creator, Judge... He doesn't forget, has no partiality and will make us be accountable for our actions. We often think that we are going to be here forever and we put off important things because we have all the time in the world (or so we think!)

As we get older we realize our immortality where our lives should be looked at very differently than when we are younger. We can't do the same things we used to do with the same vitality which means our bodies are slowly breaking down, preparing for its final destination.

This is obvious to us all the problem is that we don't live this reality. We think we can do what we want, will be on this earth for a long time and that our actions don't have repercussions. They will have repercussions if we break the law but in spiritual terms what I do doesn't matter because there is "no one" watching me. According to this philosophy there is no Creator, no Judge and everything that happens is just a result of chance!

 Throughout the millennium  there have been those forces that take G-d out of the picture either through evolution, humanism or any other ism that gives control to natural forces without anyone running them. This Mishna comes to dissuade that line of thought.

As Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin writes in his epic work Nefesh HaChaim our actions do matter and we have the ability to either strengthen or weaken the world. This world is only a corridor to the next and after we die, we will have to give an accounting for what we have done here. We are bombarded by those who would tell us our actions are futile and have no consequence!

Every second of every day we are given the opportunity to either do G-d's will or not. When we do His bidding, we create good influences while not doing what He wants causes destruction. These thoughts should not be in the back of our minds but right at the forefront so we can raise ourselves to higher spiritual levels and brings G-dliness to the world! That is the purpose of our soul coming to this world to bring awareness of G-d and everything that entails which will lead to the coming of the Messiah speedily in our days!