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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, July 16, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 6: Living up to a higher standard

"With ten trials did our ancestors test the Holy One, Blessed is He in the wilderness as it is said: 'They have tested Me these ten times and did not heed My voice'"

 There are ten trials that our ancestors tested G-d. When the Mishna mentions the word tested it means that G-d got angry for them doing so. The question is how the greatest generation in the history of man who saw G-d on Mount Sinai, witnessed the miracles in Egypt and in the desert could have tested G-d in the first place!

When  we read the stories about the spies and Korach we are baffled how such great people could speak against the land of Israel and Moshe and Aharon. After all, weren't they are Mount Sinai as well? We see though as great as they were, they still made mistakes which needs to be clarified.

One thing we need to understand is that the miracles they witnessed in the desert was to strengthen their belief in G-d so that they would inherit the land of Israel. G-d wanted the Jewish people to live at a very high spiritual level that they themselves did not think they were on the level to keep which caused them great anguish!

G-d though did believe they were on that level and had the spies not sinned, the commentaries tell us they would have entered the land of Israel straight away instead of taking forty years! This means that even though they understood what G-d had done for them in the land of Egypt, the crossing of the sea and the miracles in the desert, could not this same G-d have helped them in defeating the nations in the land of Israel for them to inherit it?

One explanation is that they thought that many of their merits had been used up and that they weren't able to overcome such great odds! Yehoshua and Calev understood that G-d would still be there for them and nothing was too big for Him to do! Others who may have held the same belief, in this case just didn't think they could rely on Him for such a great miracle!

At the same time, they seemed to complain about things that they missed, how could Moshe have brought them there just to die in the desert...It is hard to fathom such things how it works since they could not have really wanted to go back to life as it was in Egypt, could they? The reality is that life in Egypt was not good for them and almost destroyed them but they didn't feel they had the spiritual makeup to live at the level that G-d thought they could.

This is the theme behind all the complaints they had, thinking that they weren't on a level to raise themselves to a higher standard! We learn a tremendous lesson from this. We have to remember that G-d puts us in many difficult situations and we often think that we don't have the ability to overcome them.

G-d never puts a person in a situation they cannot handle. We sometimes don't think we can handle them but the reality is that we sell ourselves short. We realize after a difficult test how that solidifies who we are and what hidden abilities we have that we didn't think we had in the first place!

If we would live our lives this way and relish the trials that we have making us into the people we are, we would look different and think differently! If we were on a higher level in general, we wouldn't need these tests and we would be doing G-d's will as we are supposed to!