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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 11, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 1: Fulfilling the Purpose of Creation

"By ten divine utterances was the world created. Why does the Torah indicate this? Surely the world could have been created by one divine utterance. It means to emphasize that G-d will exact (severe) penalty from the wicked who destroy the world, which was created by (no less than) ten utterances, and that he will grant a rich reward to the righteous who maintain the world which was create by ten utterances"

The Mishna here is mind boggling! G-d, who is omnipotent and omniscient creates the world through words ("And G-d said let there be light and there was light..."). Is there such a difference between one utterance and more in G-d's eyes? The Mishna tells us that it is because G-d will exact punishment from the wicked who destroy the world. What is the deeper meaning in this Mishna?

The Rambam tells us in Hilchos Teshuvah (the laws of repentance) that there is a very delicate balance to the existence of the world. Each person has to look at the world as it is in a state of flux and that my action right now has the ability to either have a positive or negative influence! That means if I do the right thing at this specific second, I can bring tremendous blessing to the world or G-d forbid destruction! How can this cause destruction?

When we don't do what we are supposed to do, then there is a negative influence that is created in the world. For example, if a person wronged another either through speech or any other means, before Yom Kippur they need to tell them that they are sorry for their actions otherwise no matter how much they fast or do teshuva (repent) on Yom Kippur it will not help.

The reason is that once we do something against our fellow man, if we don't ask for their forgiveness then it makes an imprint in the world and does not go away until forgiveness is granted. If a person doesn't care and tramples on the sanctity of the Torah, then G-d will punish them for the destruction they cause.

When we look at the decimation physical and spiritual which has occurred to the Jewish people over the millennium we can see that we have a lot of work to do. At the same time, the more good we do we minimize the negative influence of others. The problem is that if they continue to go in their ways and not repent then there will be a serious price for them to pay.

The purpose of our being in this world is to be the best people we can by following G-d's law. If we don't do what He wants us to then we have denied its ultimate purpose. G-d wants us to succeed and reach our potential but if we brazenly spit in his face, we undermine the purpose of all creation!

This is what the Mishna here is telling us. The fact that G-d could have created the world in one utterance or ten maybe has no significance to us but as the Mishna tells us not only does it have significance but there will be a serious price to pay if we don't follow the Torah's laws.

Each transgression weakens the spiritual world and causes it to be polluted. Only through proper observance and adherence to His laws will the world look like it should. That is our goal; do good deeds, observe the commandments and bring goodness to the world so that it will lead to the coming of the Messiah speedily in our days!