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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 18, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 2: G-d's Infinite Mercy, don't Blow it!

"The ten generations from Adam to Noach  (are recorded in Genesis) to make known how great is G-d's patience; for all those generations continued provoking Him, until he finally brought upon them the waters of the flood"

The Mishna here explains that G-d has a tremendous amount of compassion but at some point, the patience wears thin and G-d has to exact punishment. We are not privy to understand how this works and what makes G-d do what He does but we can understand that His compassion is not forever. What is the deeper significance here?

One thing we can take from here is the fact that G-d never gives up on a person and wants them to succeed. He will give them many chances to change until He feels that He has been provoked too much and then will exact punishment as He sees fit.

For some people G-d will show compassion because He wants to give them reward for whatever mitzvos they have done in this world so that there will be nothing left of them in the next world. The reason is because these souls have become so corrupted that they are unworthy of being fixed up and transformed so that they may benefit in the next world.

This is hard to understand because every chapter of Ethics of our Fathers begins with the statement that all Jews have a portion in the world to come. If this is true, then how could G-d give some people their portion in the world to come in this world? Is it possible that they won't be able to do teshuvah? (repent)

The answer is that some people have corrupted their souls to the extent that they lose their portion in the world to come. This means that they have no help of basking in G-d's glory in the next world. The world to come is acquired by great toil in this world. After all, if someone doesn't prepare before shabbos, will they be able to eat on Shabbos?

Even though the Mishna states that all Jews have a portion in the world to come, at the same time we could do things that prevent us from entering there. For most people it won't be one action that will destroy them spiritually but it will be a culmination of many actions that G-d finally says "I have had enough!!!". What point that is we don't know but we must be very careful.

If we see things going well, we must always remember that this could possibly mean that we are getting benefit for the mitzvos that we are doing here. We have to be on guard lest we be complacent that things are going our way. We must not live off the fat of the land so-to-speak and forget all the good things that G-d has done for us.

That leads to an inflated ego which will take G-d out of the picture and make us think that all the good things that are happening are because of the work of our own hands! We must live our lives every second of every day thinking that what I do now has ramifications; either I am growing spiritually now or not!

Isn't that a bit extreme to think that everything we do can either be positive or negative and can have repercussions for many generations to come! This sounds depressing and very heavy for most people to bear. This is the ideal we need to strive for to realize that my actions matter and to what extent they can effect things!

We often think that we are an infestimal cosmic spec of dust that has no purpose in this world. Each person is a world unto themselves and we have to utilize the time as best we can. We need to live our lives every day as if they are our last, squeezing out every ounce of spiritual life that we can.

Although this is easier said than do, this is the meaning of the Mishna here. We need to fight for our lives on a daily basis and realize that nothing is handed to us on a platter; we never know what G-d has in store for us but we do not want to irk his ire. We want to continue receiving His blessing and compassion that He has for all his creatures!