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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, August 20, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 10: Natural disasters are caused by our actions!!

"Seven kinds of punishment come to the world for seven kinds of transgressions. 1) If some people tithe and others do not, a famine caused by lack of rain ensues, some go hungry and others are satisfied 2) if all decided not to tithe, general famine caused by both armed bands and drought ensues; and 3) they also decided not to separate the challah, a famine by destructive drought ensues 4) pestilence comes to the world for the death peanalties prescribed by the Torah that were not carried out by the court and for illegally using the fruits of the sabbatical year 5) the sword of war comes to the wold for the delay of justice, for the perversion of justice and for interpreting the Torah decision in opposition to the halacha 6) wild beasts come upon the world for vain oaths and for desecration of G-d's name 7) exile comes to the world for idolatry, for immorality, for bloodshed, and for working the earth during the sabbatical year". 

Natural disasters are anything from natural. We see from the Mishna here that there are transgressions that we do that could lead to these types of catastrophes. When we look at what happens with destructive weather patterns in the world or with earthquakes, typhoon, tsunamis and the like, we are awed by the sheer destruction that they cause.

We have to keep in mind that these things occur because of our actions. Although we don't see the direct results for what we do, G-d has his scorecard and metes out justice as He sees fit. The Rambam in the laws of repentance tells us that each city, town, state, country...have an equilibrium to them where the scale between good and evil is always in flux. Each action can turn the scale to the other side at any given time which could cause havoc.

G-d has a tremendous amount of compassion and restraint but at a certain point, unbeknownst to man, He will strike, not because He wants to, but because He has to. The reason is simple. Our actions have consequences and what we do matters, in the physical world and the spiritual world as well.

G-d judges each action of each person, good or bad from its source. It will depend why the person did it, where they are holding in the world...and then G-d will take all that into account and then "slap" the repercussions of that action back into this world physically and spiritually. This means that whatever we do, will have an effect upon us and upon the people around us.

We make the mistake and think since we are an infinitesimally small spec of cosmic dust that we are insignificant in His eyes, thereby making our actions irrelevant. This couldn't be the furthest from the truth. As the Rambam lays this out in the laws of repentance, we have a hard time relating to this idea.

How could what I do right now have an effect on others? After all, isn't G-d too busy running the world and everything that entails to care what I do or not? The answer is that G-d gave us the ability to tap into his world to the best of our ability. We are all created in His image which means we have the ability to accomplish great things even if we don't think we can or are worthy of it.

This Mishna puts this in perspective and makes us realize just how much control of what happens in the world is dependent on us! This is a tremendous responsibility that we must take with us every day which will lead us to be more introspective of our actions.

As we continue in the month of Elul, may we take stock of what we do and realize that we need to change. May the call of the shofar that we hear every day wake us up from our slumber and allow us to be the great people we can be!