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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 25, 2015

Ethics of our Fthers: Chapter 5 Mishna 3: Abraham breaks the idolatry mentality

"The ten generations from Noach to Abraham (are recorded) to make known how great is G-d's patience; for all those generations continued provoking him until our father Abraham came and received the reward they should all have been given (had they not forfeited their share).

The Mishna tells us that from the ten generations between Noach and Abraham, Abraham was able to receive the reward that those generation should have received. Ten generations seems to be a long time before someone would come along and find favor in G-d's eyes. How can we explain this?

The Rambam at the beginning of the laws of idolatry explains that the world at that time was steeped in idolatry. It was so rampant, that when Abraham came on to the scene and spoke about a G-d that he didn't hear from or see, they thought he was crazy! Abraham was a giant in belief in G-d speaking to the masses about this idea that flew in the face of what everyone else was doing.

There is a difference of opinion as to how old he was when he came to this realization but he could not fathom how such a complex world could have come into existence by itself.  If there is creation and everything that it entails, then there must be a Creator who made it! During this dark time, this was a foreign concept, especially since there was no Divine intervention in history (at least directly that people could see).

What made Abraham different from everyone else? He didn't care what other people did or what they thought; he questioned, thought, questioned some more to find out the truth. His generation and future generations for that matter were not interested in truth; they wanted to live their lives as they saw fit, not caring about the reality of the situation.

Unfortunately as true as it was in Abraham's time, it is even more true today. The reason is that people are involved in their every day live, living to survive and surviving to live. Most people do not think about what is true or not but are steeped in their own desires which rule their lives.

Life passes these people by. They are so caught up in their desire for wealth, fun or anything hedonist as to fulfill the idea of "eat, drink and be merry lest tomorrow we die" mentality. There are individuals, though that can raise themselves above that which takes a tremendous amount of strength.

This is the power of baalei teshuvah (returnees to Judaism) and converts who give up everything and change their lives for the sake of truth. This would be an impossibility if not for the fact that Abraham did this and gave his offspring the ability to follow in his footsteps for all generations.

This is what the Mishna here is conveying to us. Those generation were so corrupt, absolute truth was the furthest thing from their minds. This is what makes Abraham so great. He went against the tide of his generation and previous generations by denying idolatry and bringing the idea of one G-d to the world.

This is why he merits the reward of those generations! He earned it by standing up for what is right and declaring what absolute truth is. We live in a world of falsehood where religion is scorned and morality is just a word in a dictionary that people give lip service to.

We need to learn from our father Abraham that it doesn't matter what people say or do; we have to serve G-d the way He wants us to, not the way we think we should! We are all created in the image of G-d, not the other way around.

This was a novel concept for that generation that was steeped in idolatry. Abraham came and gave everyone a different reality. May we continue to live that reality and implement the teachings into our every day life.