Blog Archive

About Me

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.
View my complete profile


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

Parshas Behaloscha: Don't Give up the Potential of your Learning

"And the L-rd spoke to Moshe says, 'This is that which belongs to the Levites, from twenty-five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the Tent of Meeting and from the age of fifty years they shall go out of the ranks of the service and not serve any more" (Numbers 8: 23-25)

Rashi asks how this can be that they start doing the service when they are twenty-five and in another place it states when they are thirty? From here we learn that they learns the laws of the Temple service for five years which teaches us that a student who learns Torah for five years and does not find success in his learning, will not find success in learning in the future. Does this mean that this is an impossibility for later in life that they will never find success in learning?

Many have the mistaken idea that if someone is educated in a Torah lifestyle and they have learned from elementary school, to high school, continuing when they are married, they should pursue the opportunity of getting a degree so they can make a proper living. While making a living is important, what about the opportunity to sit and learn to see if that person can make something of themselves in the Torah world?

Rashi here is telling us that this person should have the opportunity to learn these five years to see if they see success in their learning. These years a person has to do their utmost to see what their potential is in learning. As young adults, they are just getting their feet wet in learning and cutting themselves off because society says they have to have a degree which  is tragic.

In essence they are cutting themselves off in these important developmental years from their ability to become rabbinic scholars; they should at least be given the opportunity to shine! The problem is that there is a very strong push to make money and attain degrees with that goal in mind. Again this is not to say that livelihood is not important but we should not make it THE priority before ascertaining whether they have the ability to thrive in their learning.

 Rashi states clearly that if during this optimal time they haven't found success in their learning, then the future in learning for them is bleak.. This does not preclude them from ever being successful later but once they have not seen success at this point, most likely they won't in the future either.

This is why these formative years are so important. Once a person has kids and starts to raise a family the opportunity at success in learning is less forthcoming. Unless there has been success before, the burden of providing for the family will take precedence and a person will have to find the time to learn while pursuing those goals.

If we would listen to what society says, we wouldn't even give the person the opportunity to reach that potential because of the pull of the importance of making a livelihood. G-d determines how much a person will earn each year and there are those with higher degrees that struggle and those without that go into business and become successful.

The problem is that we get caught up in the rhetoric of how important that degree is and what it means in society. If we had learning that was focused like what occurs in England, then from a young age a person decides what they want to do and once they are finished, they will be able to go into the workforce.

Focused learning has the benefit that once you are finished, you have something in your hand that you can use which is more practical. This though does not come at the expense of the importance of one's learning which cannot be underestimated!